Mobile-Based Early WarningSystems in Mozambique. : An exploratory study on the viability to integrate Cell Broadcast into disaster mitigation routines.
Abstract: Mozambique is one of the countries most affected by natural hazards in the world. Therefore it can benefit greatly from enhancements on its early warning system. Cell broadcast, which is a technology able to send simultaneous alert messages to all mobile phones in a geographical area has gained attention of emergency authorities since various catastrophes in the years 2000’s and increasing diffusion of the mobile network. This research has looked into the disaster risk management routines in Mozambique, interviewing relevant institutions, to identify the currently in use early warning system and analyze the circuit of information from detecting a hazard until the transmission of alert messages to the population. The goal of this research has been to identify how alert messages are sent to the population and, based on currently available infrastructure, analyze the possibilities to use Cell Broadcast to target alerts to all subscribers on specific geographic zones. It has been identified that the country already uses a solution that sends SMS to a list of phone numbers registered in a database. Nonetheless, telecommunication operators in the country are willing to cooperate with emergency authorities to design a solution in which Cell Broadcast can be used to strategically target alerts to subscribers at designated areas of risk. In this way, enabling enhanced accuracy and efficiency of the public alert system in Mozambique, with reduced time between detection and the simultaneously delivery of public alert messages to the entire population or only to people located on relevant geographic zones. Furthermore, the results also allowed to speculate on the viability of automated solutions, which can be used in combination to the enhancements that Cell Broadcast can bring to disaster risk management routines.
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