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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Engineers work to reconnect Peru
More than 500 people died in the earthquake
Technicians and engineers from Telecoms Sans Frontieres have arrived in Peru to help the earthquake recovery effort.

The five-strong team will deploy satellite telephone and internet access in three centres - at Pisco, where the quake hit hardest, Ica and Chincha.

Julie Cazenave, who is leading the team, said: "There is a lot of confusion right now because there is little information from the areas hit."

The priority will be to establish telecoms at the airport in Pisco.

Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) is charity that works with the United Nations and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) to restore communications in disaster-hit areas and the developing world.

"There are no power lines to charge phones. In the affected areas there are no landlines, no internet," said Ms Cazenave.

In the capital Lima the telephone and internet was working well, she said.

Severely disrupted

Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, while power supplies, telecommunications and road links have been severely disrupted.

The death toll from Wednesday's 8.0-magnitude quake has risen above 500, according to Peru's fire service.

Without communications you can't co-ordinate helicopters or flights
Julie Cazenave, Telecoms San Frontieres

"We have to use satellite tech to re-connect different organisation centres in the field.

"We will set up a telecoms centre at Pisco airport, which is the main logistical platform of emergency relief."

Everything from Pisco had to be moved by helicopter or ground transport, she said.

The team is taking satellite telephones, satellite internet modems, laptops and all the equipment to set up wi-fi connections in the region.

The first telecoms centre will be set up on Friday afternoon in Pisco, followed by Chincha and Ica over the weekend.

The centres will be used to co-ordinate recovery work between the three affected areas and the capital Lima.

Emergency services and charity workers will have priority access to the equipment but local people will also be able to make free phone calls.

'Extremely reliable'

Ms Cazenave estimated that the group would remain in the area for at least three weeks.

She said: "Satellite technology is extremely reliable and we won't have any problem setting up communications with Lima.

"It will help to gather all the information and assessments from the field which Lima doesn't have right now."

She said working communications was one of the necessities following a natural disaster.

"It's one of the biggest priorities to be able to co-ordinate recovery work and humanitatian work.

"Without communications you can't co-ordinate helicopters or flights."

Search for Peru quake survivors
17 Aug 07 |  Americas
In pictures: Peru earthquake
16 Aug 07 |  In Pictures

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