BY: CAROLINE ROLF
Next month, a new warning system will be introduced in the island of Tuvalu to help communities better prepare for natural disasters. Made by Chatty Beetle technology, the device is able to send and receive short data messages to the Internet via satellite anywhere in the world.
Photo: Werner Labs Inc.
The equipment on each island will include SMS-based communication to ensure that when a warning comes from New Zealand or Hawaii, residents will be notified. The device will receive a message about the type of storm warning, be it a tsunami or other meteorological warning, and the alarm will be activated.
With the rise of sea levels due to global warming, there is a significant environmental stress for the residents of Tuvalu. The threatening seawater could contaminate the nation’s water supply, which is already at risk because of untreated sewage from the mining and farming industry. It was reported that the 2014-15 cyclone season was one of the most active. Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated the South Pacific Ocean nation in March last year, killing more than 10 people and leaving thousands without a home.
In cooperation with the disaster management officer, each island will hold drills once the devices are installed to practice emergency procedures. The devices are solar powered and have the ability to protect the island’s 10, 000 citizens from natural disasters including earthquakes, cyclones and volcanic activity.