Under the auspices of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, a sophisticated disaster early warning system was officially introduced today (19), marking a collaborative effort involving the Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and major telephone service providers including SLT Mobitel, Hutch, Dialog and Airtel. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing this strategic initiative was also signed at the President’s Office today.
Director General of the Disaster Management Centre Major General S. Ranasinghe (Retired) and Director General of the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Mr. Madhushanka Dissanayake, were the signatories to the MoU. Notable stakeholders, including Group Chief Executive Officer of Dialog Axiata Mr. Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Telecom Mr. Janaka R. Abeysinghe, Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel Lanka Mr. Ashish Chandra, Chief Operating Officer of Mobitel Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Sudarshan Giganage and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka Pvt. Ltd Mr. Samitra Gupta were actively involved in the signing ceremony.
The primary objective of this state-of-the-art disaster early warning system is to fortify the existing mechanism, ensuring the safety and well-being of Sri Lankan citizens amidst various disasters, including those caused by weather and climate changes. The system leverages cutting-edge technology to deliver more effective early warnings through telephone communication networks.
Specifically focusing on tsunami disasters, the system targets nearly sixty thousand (60,000) mobile and landline numbers in 14 districts identified as high-risk areas. It is designed to promptly issue an immediate early warning in the form of a distinctive “Ring Tone” notification accompanied by a siren sound.
This will establish a more robust early warning mechanism for the public, utilizing phone notifications featuring a siren sound, particularly effective during night-time hours.
Scheduled for a public rollout on “National Security Day” on December 26, 2023, the system’s scope is anticipated to expand in the future, evolving into a comprehensive multi-disaster early warning mechanism. This expansion aims to include landslides and floods, further enhancing its utility and impact.
The high-profile event was attended by key dignitaries, including State Minister for Defence Mr. Pramita Bandara Thennakoon, President’s Senior Advisor on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the Defence Ministry General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired) and Directors of the Disaster Management Centre, Brigadier T.C. Harasgama and Mr. Pradeep Kodippili were among others.
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