Sri Lanka lost more than 30,000 people to the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
"It took one and half hours for the waves to travel," Samarasinghe said. "If we had the systems such as what we have today, we would have had ample time to issue the early warning and to evacuate the people."
The system, labeled disaster and emergency warning network (DEWN) was developed jointly by Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka's largest celco, the University of Moratuwa, also in Sri Lanka and Microimage, a Colombo based software firm.
DEWN uses the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a standardized data format that is already used elsewhere in the world. DEWN will deliver text messages and also use cell broadcast facilities, where a scrolling message i