March 26, 2014
Text messages a potential life-saver in flood-prone parts of Africa
Text messaging may be dying out as a means of communication in many parts of the advanced world, but it may yet prove to be a vital life-saver in flood-prone African villages. Sri Lanka's Sunday Times reports.
An early-warning system that aims to capitalise on the explosive growth of mobile phone penetration in Africa could soon be in place to broadcast alerts to all users at risk from natural disasters such as flooding or hurricanes.
Millions of people in Africa have only limited access to television, radio or Internet but mobile phone ownership has grown exponentially, even in poor remote villages.
A network of satellites and weather stations will detect the threat and send a text to villagers within 15 minutes, hopefully allowing time for evacuation.
“The technology is able to identify all the active cellphones in a certain area, such as a shopping mall, a village, or a park, and send messages straight to the terminal without any previous subscription,” Alberto Perez, Nvia’s Africa manager, told AFP.
“With the same system, we can also send vital information to people about natural disasters that can save their lives and minimise damages”.
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