Mosques in coastal areas to announce tsunami warnings


  • Nation
  • Friday, 16 Sep 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: Remote villages and shoreline communities in the country will soon be able to get tsunami warnings via the public address (PA) systems of local mosques. 

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the PA systems would be remotely activated with pre-recorded tsunami warnings. 

“The PA system will announce messages such as 'please don't worry, there is no tsunami' or 'please get to high ground, there is a tsunami coming'. This will serve as a first warning system for people in villages.  

“In remote areas, there may be no TVs or telephones, so using the mosques is an effective way to issue warnings,” he told reporters last night after attending a dinner on Natural Disaster Mitigation hosted by Telekom Malaysia Bhd. 

Dr Jamaluddin said the system had not been designed yet but that as an engineer he knew that this was technologically feasible and could be done. 

“I am a technology man myself and I challenge our technology guys here to do this. If they can make robots, surely they can control a PA system in remote areas to receive data and activate pre-recorded messages,” he added. 

Dr Jamaluddin said mosques were a natural choice because most homes in villages were close enough to hear the azan (call for prayer) through the mosques' PA systems. 

Malaysia will be launching its RM20mil comprehensive early warning system at the end of the year where buoys in the sea will be able to detect a tsunami after an earthquake around the area. 

Dr Jamaluddin also said Indonesia had agreed to allow Malaysia to install two sensors – one in Aceh and the other in Nias – to get real-time data each time there is a quake there. 

Getting information was one thing, he said, but what was more crucial was to disseminate this to the public. 

Local TV stations, he said, had agreed to have news crawlers on programmes and to broadcast breaking news whenever there was a strong earthquake. 

The Government was also talking to networks like Astro to broadcast breaking news if there was a threat of a tsunami. 

Dr Jamaluddin noted that since the Dec 26 earthquake in Aceh there had been about two to three earthquakes daily around the area. 

The giant tsunami that followed the massive Dec 26 earthquake took away more than 200,000 lives.  

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