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Nepal earthquake: Viber re-opens free call service after country hit by another tremor

The internet call and text company offered services for free in the wake of the first devastating tremor, in late April

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 13 May 2015 11:14 BST
Nepalese rescue workers at the site after a house collapsed during a strong earthquake, in Kathmandu
Nepalese rescue workers at the site after a house collapsed during a strong earthquake, in Kathmandu

Viber is again offering free calls to those in Nepal, in the hope that the service can help those affected by the second major tremor to hit the country in recent weeks.

“Following the latest earthquake in Nepal, ‘Viber Out’ is free for Nepali users,” the company wrote in a Facebook post following the tremor. “This means that all domestic and international calls to mobile and landline numbers are free for the next 48 hours.

“We hope this will help those trying to reach friends and family in the region at this difficult time. We will continue to monitor the situation to provide the best help that we can.”

Some users complained in Facebook comments that the service wasn’t doing enough, and should open up all international calls to and from Nepal free, as well as domestic ones. Viber appeared to respond by adding international calls to the free service.

That was how Viber opened up the service last time around, and the company said that it would “constantly evaluate the situation to ensure we provide the best possible service”.

Viber said initially that there had been some problems getting the free service online. But the Viber free service is now completely up and running, according to the company.

In the wake of both tremors, traditional phone service became limited as infrastructure was damaged and huge demand overloaded the networks.

Viber offered a similar service in the Philippines in 2013, to help users speak to each other following the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan.

Many of the other services offered by tech companies to help after the previous tremor are still in operation. For instance, Google’s Person Finder Tool — which helps people who have information about people connect with people who are looking for them — is still online.

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