The Seychelles Meteorological Authority (SMA) has signed an agreement with the country's two largest telecommunication companies with the aim of bringing faster disaster risk alerts to the public.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed last week by Vincent Amelie, the chief executive of SMA, along with the directors of operators Airtel Seychelles and Cable & Wireless Seychelles during a workshop to coincide with World Meteorological Day (which commemorates the coming into force on 23 March 1950 of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization).
According to the Seychelles News Agency, Amelie explained that, until recently, SMA relied mostly on media houses to send out these alerts but found that the most effective way to reach the public is through sending SMSs to their mobile phones. With this agreement, he suggested, it should be possible to ensure that in the coming years everyone in Seychelles will be covered through the SMS early warning system.
He added that although warnings cannot stop floods or other disasters, they can save lives by warning people early of any impending dangers.
Several presentations on the importance of having such a system in place were held prior to the signing. It included the definitions of each of the three warnings that SMA will use: yellow, amber and red alerts.
In his presentation, Amelie also spoke of the challenges SMA faces in accurately forecasting the weather, which is presumably another reason for adopting the most effective early warning system possible.