Seychelles' telecoms providers sign agreement for SMS disaster risk alerts system
The MOU was signed CEO of SMA (Centre), along with the directors of Airtel Seychelles and Cable & Wireless Seychelles. (Seychelles Meteorological Authority)
The Seychelles Meteorological Authority (SMA) signed an agreement with the country's two largest telecommunication companies that expect to bring faster disaster risk alerts to the public.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on Thursday by Vincent Amelie, the chief executive of SMA along with the directors of Airtel Seychelles and Cable & Wireless Seychelles during a workshop to coincide with World Meteorology Day.
"It is important for us to be able to get these alerts out at the fastest possible rate so that people can protect themselves and their property," said Amelie.
He explained that before, SMA relied mostly on media houses to send out these alerts but found that the most effective way to reach the public is through SMS to their mobile phones.
"With this agreement today, we can ensure that in the coming years, everyone in Seychelles will be covered through this early warning system," added Amelie.
He said that although they cannot stop floods or other disasters, they can save lives by warning people early of any impending dangers.
For the two companies, signing such an agreement is giving back to the community and their contribution to ensuring the safety of the public.
"Airtel Seychelles has always supported the environment and today is a testament of our belief that environment protection, in this case, climate change, is one of our priorities," said Jude Valmont, the brand, marketing and communications manager at Airtel.
Georges D'Offay, the managing director of Cable & Wireless Seychelles, said that when they were approached by the SMA, there was no hesitation from them to help out.
Several presentations on the importance of having such a system in place were held prior to the signing. It included the definitions of each three warnings that SMA - yellow, amber and red alerts.
"We want people to understand the colour codes better so that when such alerts come out, people can interpret it effectively and react to it," Amelie said.
He is urging the public to take any alerts seriously and react to them, despite the fact that disasters may not happen.
"If it does not happen today, it does not mean it won't happen tomorrow, so people must react properly to the alerts early as it can save their lives," he added.
In his presentation, Amelie also spoke of the challenges SMA faces in accurately forecasting the weather, which will make the early warning system more effective.
"We want to have a Doppler radar, which gives a more accurate outlook of the weather including the amount of water in clouds and this will help us to give a better forecast," added Amelie.