Disaster Management Bureau is all set to launch early cyclone warning in all 14 coastal districts through mobile phone using cell broadcasting technique from January next in backdrop of increasing frequency and severity of cyclone in the Bay.
Cyclone warning by mobile next time
‘After piloting in Cox’s Bazar over more than one year, we will introduce the new tool of early warning in all coastal districts from January next,’ DMB director Abu Sadeque told BSS on Tuesday.
The piloting of this new method of early warning has been carried out through two mobile operators – one is Grameen phone, holding the country’s largest mobile network and other one is state run Teletalk.
The DMB has submitted detail proposal to the two operators for fixing the modalities for 14 coastal districts.
Under the ‘cell broadcasting’ technique, the cyclone warning would be broadcast to every functional mobile phone set using network of these two operators in the areas of all coastal districts, Sadeque said.
The warning through text message would be scrolling to screen of mobile sets automatically whenever the cyclone warning crossed cautionary signal number 4, this way, a user did not even need to push a button, he said.
‘Apart from Cox’s Bazar, we have also sent early warning for flood using the same methods to Sirajganj district during the piloting,’ he also said.
The director said that after launching cell broadcasting for cyclone at all coastal districts, they had plan to introduce flood warning at all flood porn districts of the country to help the rural people taking preparedness before flood hitting their respective places.
‘Early warning through mobile phone will definitely decrease numbers of people injured or killed as well as minimising the loss of property during cyclones as the use of mobile is increasing rapidly in the remote areas, he said.
During the piloting, Sadeque said that the mobile operators had allowed DMB to use only 20 characters for giving the warning message. For that they had to broadcast the warning in a code language that was seemed to little bit difficult for the coastal people to decode, he said. He said the DMB had proposed to mobile operators for allowing sending the warning within 80 characters from January next. ‘If the operators give us 80 characters provision, we can give the cyclone warning with wind speed and height of probable tidal surge in detail through the cell broadcasting,’ he said.
Grameenphone Corporate Affairs manager Siaf ul Hassan said that presently they were reviewing the government proposal on continuing cell broadcasting to 14 coastal districts. ‘We will sign a MoU with the government after fixing the modalities,’ he said.
‘During the piloting, we have provided the cell broadcasting service to the DMB at free of cost under our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),’ he said. The country has an effective early warning system operated by the Bangladesh Red Cresc-ent Society through its 42,000 volunteers who move around with bicycles and megaphones informing people of the imp-ending danger and advising them to evacuate their homes.
But the more remote disaster-prone areas are not covered by volunteers and often villagers have no idea that their homes are likely to be flooded or that a severe cyclone is heading their way.