The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has announced plans to expand its alert system beyond text messages to include television, radio and other media. The initiative aims to quickly inform citizens of impending extreme weather events and enable them to take the necessary precautions.
The current text-based system, implemented in phase one of the project, has been successful in disseminating critical information via mobile phones. However, the NDMA recognizes the need to overcome the limitations of text-based warnings and leverage technology and communication for a more comprehensive approach.
A senior NDMA official told PTI, phase two of the project, covering television, radio and other media, is expected to be implemented by the end of the year. The integration of these platforms will guarantee greater reach and accessibility to weather alerts.
Previously, the NDMA used the "National Disaster Alert Portal" and the mobile application "Sachet" to issue early warnings. The agency conceptualized the "Common Alert Protocol Based Integrated Alert System" to bring together alerting agencies such as India Meteorological Department, Central Water Commission, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services and Forest Survey of India, together with warning broadcasting agencies and state disaster management authorities.
The pan-India implementation of the first phase of the project was sanctioned by the Center in 2021 after a successful pilot project in Tamil Nadu. The initiative, known as the "common warning protocol", aims to be the largest early warning program in the world. Citizens will automatically receive alerts without the need to subscribe to specific messaging groups.
The advisory messages will be broadcast in two languages, including the local language, to effectively alert people to severe weather events. In the future, mobile phones will also vibrate when receiving such alerts, providing an additional sensory cue.
The NDMA official stressed that India will become the only country outside the global north to have a common warning protocol, highlighting the nation's commitment to harnessing technology for disaster preparedness.
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