ECONOMYNEXT – Dialog Axiata has improved its disaster early warning system to send localised message alerts by mobile phone to only warn people at risk in specific areas in Sri Lanka, an official said.
The improvements were part of upgrades to Dialog’s Disaster Early Warning Network (DEWN), the mass alert early warning system, said Charitha Ratwatta, Head of Group Sustainability at Dialog Axiata.
Improvements include SMS messages being sent to the first responders of the government hierarchy and digital broadcasting.
DEWN, a system that dispatches alerts related to disaster via a mobile phone application, is now being handled by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC).
Originally developed after the Indian Ocean tsunami and done in partnership with University of Moratuwa Mobile Communications Research Laboratory and Microimage Pvt Ltd., the system can now give alerts about other risks like floods.
Ratwatte said localised disaster warnings can now be sent to selected clusters of telecommunications towers that connect subscribers instead of all subscribers so that only those at risk in an area will get the alert.
The DMC now send alerts at district level to warn people of disaster risk.
The ability to send localised alerts can help prevent unnecessary public panic and also get over possible congestion problems, Ratwatte told a forum of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka held by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies.
“We can select an area to send broadcast message to such as a flood warning – to send signals only to that area, and to send warnings before networks get congested.” Ratwatte said
Dialog was also looking at developing an applications programming interface (API) which media organizations can use to warn people of disaster risk.
An API has been developed so that anyone with authorisation from the DMC can write software that automatically pulls alerts from the DMC to put on websites and send on television screens as scrolling messages. (COLOMBO, July 08, 2016)