• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:15 am

ED: An alerting system that could save lives

  • Published at 01:07 am October 27th, 2021
Flood hits Rangpur
Dhaka Tribune

An effective digital forecasting and warning system has been a long time coming

Being an especially flood-prone country, each year Bangladesh is made vulnerable to severe flooding during monsoon season, leading to the loss of life, property, and other possessions.

In that regard, an effective digital forecasting and warning system has been a long time coming, and it is good to see such an initiative finally be introduced and implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources.

The system -- which was developed through collaboration between Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and a2i, and some assistance from Google -- will be able to send people residing in risk zones SMS notifications via their mobile phones, anywhere between three days to three hours before the onset of the floods, depending on the system’s predictive capacity. If properly and regularly implemented, this system could save countless lives and livelihoods annually by allowing people to evacuate high risk areas following the alerts.

However, there is still much work to be done. For one, the system can currently only send notifications to Android phone users. This renders the service considerably less effective, as the number of Android users among people in rural and more remote areas is still quite low. The system is now being developed to send instant mobile SMS in the future, and it is likely that further updates will similarly need to be made to make the system adequately inclusive.

All things considered, while there is still much more room for upgrades and further measures to be taken to tackle flood control and management, this warning system is a commendable step in the right direction, ie away from reactive action and towards pro-active action in minimizing the adverse effects of annual flooding.

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