As part of the massive earthquake response in Türkiye in early 2023, WFP leveraged its partnership with iMMAP Inc to deploy information management expertise in a pressing context. Johnson Taremwa, an experienced Ugandan Specialist, was seconded to support the Emergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS) for six weeks. Below is an account of Johnson’s Standby experience.
A series of devastating quakes―known as the Kahramanmaraş Earthquakes―shook south-east Türkiye on 6 February 2023. At least 230,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed across 11 provinces in Türkiye. Overnight, thousands of lives were shattered.
The WFP-led Emergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS) was mobilized from 16 February to 17 May 2023 to support the government-led response in Türkiye. The ETS set out to enhance data connectivity in common spaces, establish and strengthen security communications systems, and set up charging station services for communities in temporary settlements.
The response was intense, with ETS services delivered across eight earthquake-affected locations. In this challenging operational environment, Johnson Taremwa, an experienced iMMAP Inc Information Management Officer stepped in to support the ETS Türkiye response.
Logging in remotely from his home country of Uganda, Johnson hit the ground running in late March. Picking up the baton of Information Management activities from his predecessor, Johnson quickly got to grips with the critical ETS activities being delivered across the provinces devastated by the earthquakes―Adıyaman, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, and Malatya.
Johnson's dedicated efforts as an Information Management Officer played a crucial role in the ETS response in Türkiye. From mapping of communications services to engaging with key ICT stakeholders in the response community, Johnson supported the sector to join the operational information dots in a complex and fast-paced emergency.
Reflecting on his six weeks with the ETS, Johnson recalls, " I was able to support the ETS by continuously compiling and disseminating sector activities through internal and external situation reports. This work rapidly enhanced awareness of the ETS among stakeholders in Türkiye."
Johnson’s supervisor―Khawar Ilyas―coordinated the ETS response. Khawar commented: “Information management services go hand in hand with coordination. Reporting, data collection, and visualization in the context of crisis coordination is key.”
Khawar continued, “The consolidation and analysis of raw data carried out by Information Management Officers helps the coordinator to assess and improve the quality of services delivered services.”
Khawar attributes Johnson’s ability to deliver results in such a short period to his quick learning skills, analytical prowess, good planning, and his adeptness in working within a team, enabling him to adapt swiftly to diverse situations and challenging contexts.
“Johnson’s commitment to the mission exemplifies the importance of information management in emergency response and its impact on enhancing the overall humanitarian effort”, Khawar concludes. “Through information management, we are all better engaged in the humanitarian response”.
Since 1991 the World Food Programme (WFP) collaborates with a vast network of Standby Partners consisting of public and private organizations complementing WFP’s operational capacity by providing staffing, equipment, and services. Standby Partnerships are activated in various job positions and provide crucial support to WFP operations in emergencies or when WFP needs specific technical expertise. In 2022, 205 experts supported 45 Country Offices, 4 Regional Bureaux, and Headquarters. To request and deploy experts Standby Partners please reach out to WFP Standby Partnerships team in the Emergency Operations Division at: firstname.lastname@example.org.