Skype, a Vital Communication Tool in Haiti
Article by George Norman
On 15 Jan 2010
As I am sure you already know, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake earlier this week. The victims need shelter, water, food and a lot of other bits and pieces. They also need to be able to communicate, but that is kind of difficult seeing how they have no landline or cell phone coverage anymore. That is where software comes in and lends a helping hand.

According to Skype’s Peter Parkes, the IM (instant messaging) and VoIP (voice over internet protocol) application has become a “vital tool” for numerous people in Haiti. Skype-to-Skype calls, video or just voice calls, are completely free, Parkes reminded us. For the past few days many have used this functionality to get in touch with family members, friends, co-workers and so on.

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“Many people in Haiti are without landline or cell phone coverage since the earthquake hit on Tuesday, and so tools like Skype have become vital. Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls are completely free, and many of you have been using them over the last couple of days to stay in touch with family and friends, or to contact co-workers or support agencies during this difficult time,” said Peter Parkes.

Skype will further show its support by sending $2 vouchers of Skype Credit to all Skype users in Haiti. The vouchers are being sent by email and should arrive shortly. $2 may not seem like much, but it is enough to call landlines and carry a conversation for about 1 hour. It all depends on the region you plan on calling – see Skype’s rates here.

In related news, it should be said that there are Haiti earthquake related scams making the rounds on the web. The bad guys are using blackhat SEO to poison search results and lure users to malware spreading site. There are also spam messages making the rounds, messages that try to scam users by asking for donations.



Tags: Haiti, Earthquake, Skype
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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