Cell broadcast ideal for Maldives public warning: think tank

July 17, 2009 (LBO) – Cell broadcasting, a messaging system that is found in the two celco networks in the Maldives can be used to send immediate public warning messages to users, a think tank has said.

Loss of life was small, but around one-third of the population was affected and property damage was estimated to have been around 60 per cent of gross domestic product.

“Its principal industry is tourism,” the think tank noted. “Ensuring public safety and giving visitors a sense of security are thus high priorities for the government.”

Because the population of the Maldives is highly dispersed radio and television would be less than ideal for public warning, LIRNEAsia said. Tourists were also unlikely to listen to local channels. The sets also need to be switched on for messages to be heard.

Short message service (SMS) was also an option but phones need to be pre-registered and congestion could also delay message delivery.

“A discreet campaign telling tourists how to turn on the Maldivian warning channel can not only enhance their security but also communicate the image of a caring Maldives,” LIRNEAsia said.

For sustained adoption, it will be necessary for the regulator