SMS alerts may be used to warn public on tsunamis

Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin says under the proposal, an alert will be blasted out to all numbers within certain locations.

KOTA KINABALU: Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin says her ministry is looking for ways to employ a more effective SMS alert system to warn the public about tsunamis.

She said the text messaging system would use a technology that would send alerts to all numbers within certain locations, instead of sending them to only registered numbers.

“I have proposed this idea to the Meteorological Department and I think it can be done with push button technology.

“Once this is in place, it can be expanded to include other disasters as well,” she said after a meeting with Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

Some geologists had warned that some areas in the country, such as Tawau in Sabah, could be hit by tsunamis. This warning came after a 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi,triggering a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu, killing more than 1,300 people.

On the siren alert system, Yeo said the department had installed 56 sirens nationwide and recent inspections showed all the sirens were in good working condition.

The problem is that action needs to be taken immediately after these sirens are activated but the public might know what to do, she said.

“We never had any drills to tell the people what to do.

“So, I told the department to schedule drills to educate the public and alert them on what action needs to be taken when these sirens go off,” she said.