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National disaster and emergency warning system launched

A state-of-the-art disaster and emergency warning system backed by the advancement of mobile communication was launched as a pilot project at the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order recently.

In the pilot phase of the national project Ratnapura and Galle police stations will be connected to the country's emergency alarming 118 center of the Police Headquarters and emergency alarms would relay in seconds through this highly developed network.

The system will be tested and modified over the next few months leading up to final deployment on a national basis.

At the final stage, country's two million Dialog mobile phone holders will be able to receive short messages on a national disaster within seconds in their preferred language, Sinhala, Tamil or English.

Pioneered as a Research and Development initiative of Dialog Telekom and supported by Microimage and the Dialog-UoM laboratory, the initial phase of Disaster and Emergency Warning Network (DEWN) combines the innovative use of Cell Broadcast,

Location Based Technology and SMS available on a GSM network with specialised terminal device technologies render a cost effective and reliable mass alert system.

DEWN encompasses the multiple areas of specialized GSM handset applications, prototype wireless alerting devices for domestic and specialized use and the deployment of cutting edge Sinhala and Tamil interfaces to deliver a suite of mass alert solutions applicable to the Sri Lankan environment, says Dialog Telekom in a press release.

Public Security, Law and Order Ministry Secretary Tilak Ranaviraja officially commenced the DEWN by initiating a model message to the 118 center.

The commitment of Dialog Telekom in initiating a national network on disaster alarm network is a trend setter for the entire private sector in the country, said Ranaviraja at the launching ceremony.

"It is important to note that this network not only be dealing with disasters like tsunami, but any emergency situation that threatens the security of the public," he said.

Dialog Telekom Chief Executive Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya said that the development of an effective disaster and emergency warning system through the innovative leverage of the key resources we have at hand was foremost in our minds over the past months.

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who combined innovative thinking with dedication to purpose to bring this project to the stage of pilot implementation.

DEWN capitalizes on the inherent strengths of GSM technology and the widespread access provided by GSM networks, to create a specialized Disaster Alert delivery and response layer residing on the incumbent technology.

The Ministry of Public Security Law and Order has been a key motivator in this project since its inception and today plays a key role in its implementation through the public security system in Sri Lanka.

We are also truly proud and appreciative of the innovations created by our partners in this project - Microimage and the Dialog-UoM Research facility," he said.

Present at the launch of the pilot project were several key dignitaries, including Thilak Ranaviraja Secretary to the Minister of Public Security, Law and Order, Prof. Dileeka Dias Dialog University of Moratuwa Research Laboratory and Harsha Purasinghe, CEO Microimage, all of whom have collaborated in the development of the system.

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