Cisco donates $2.5M for tsunami relief efforts in Asia

Cisco Systems Inc. and its employees have donated US$2.5 million for humanitarian relief and reconstruction projects for those affected by the earthquakes and the subsequent tsunamis that ravaged coastlines across South Asia, the company said Thursday.

Cisco has donated $1 million as a company and the Cisco Systems Foundation has pleged at least $1 million more to match donations made by Cisco employees, the company said in a statement. Cisco employees have so far donated $460,000 and that number is expected to eventually reach $1 million, it said.

The donations are primarily focused on humanitarian releif efforts for those affected by the earthquakes, Cisco said. The company is working with non-governmental organizations including the Red Cross to determine how best to allocate the donated funds, it said.

Cisco is also working with NetHope, a collaborative project set up by a group of non-governmental organizations including Habitat for Humanity International and the Christian Children's Fund.

In response to the devastation wrought by the earthquakes and tsunamis in South Asia, NetHope plans to provide up to four NetReliefKits (NRKs) through a partnership with Cisco and satellite operator Inmarsat. The NRK is a rugged, wireless-based voice and data communications device that is about the size of a suitcase, according to NetHope's Web site.

Powered by a car battery or power mains, the NRKs provide Internet access through a mobile satellite station, NetHope said. The NRKs can also be used to provide voice services using wired or wireless phones that support VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) up to a range of 100 meters, it said.

NetHope is currently in the process of identifying locations to set up NRKs in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, it said.

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