Heavenly Alerts

Dec 27, 2007 (LBO) – A digital satellite radio disaster alert system that can be remotely activated which was field tested in Sri Lanka is now ready for use in the region to give early warning of tsunamis, officials said. The Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) system can send disaster alerts within seconds of its transmission by government authorities and also has the advantage of activating a siren.

The system is also expected to be adopted in India, which along with Sri Lanka, was among several countries that suffered from the 2004 tsunami.

The system, which has early-warning emergency messages, audio and visual alarms, was tested in a study conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional policy think tank, and Sarvodaya, a charity, in 32 Sri Lankan coastal villages.

“The product is digital satellite radio it means there’s no ground infrastructure at all,” said Rohan Samarajeeva of LIRNEasia.

“It is a very small device about the size of my palm and can be taken around. It can give warnings in text and audio in multiple languages.”

The device was designed for community-based disaster relief by LIRNEasia and WorldSpace, a US-based wireless technology major.

“We are planning to introduce the