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Sierra Leone tackles disasters with innovative life-saving SMS system


Sierra Leone tackles disasters with innovative life-saving SMS system
Sierra Leone has become the second country in the world after Haiti to launch the location-target life-saving SMS system known as the Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA), the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS).


This is the result of a partnership involving the nation’s telecoms sector, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS).


By just pressing a button, 36,000 people could be reached within one hour, with warnings of disasters such as arson, flood and disease outbreaks.

The technology is being offered on the country’s largest mobile network Airtel, with support from Sierra Leone’s vice president, the Office of National Security and Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

Vice president Samuel Sam Sumana noted access to information will help reduce the fatality of disasters in the West African nation.

He said: "Last year our country was hit by the worst cholera outbreak in 40 years. Simple information could have helped prevent some of the 300 deaths we suffered. We know Sierra Leone has a poor health record and the government is committed to doing something about that.

“Working with the Sierra Leone Red Cross, Airtel, Comium and SierraTel, we can make sure people are armed with the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves and their families."

With World Malaria Day (April 25) fast approaching, the Red Cross and Airtel have revealed they plan to reach one million people across the nation with information on ways of preventing malaria which has become a major cause of child and adult mortality in the country.

Information on other diseases will also be shared via the technology.

SLRCS’ communications director Abubakarr Tarawallie, described the technology as a real lifesaver.

He said: "We can use it to warn people when emergencies or outbreaks start and to give them vital information on preventing diseases like malaria and cholera.

“Even better, the system is two-way so we can quickly assess the areas of greatest need after an emergency and respond to requests for information on a large-scale.

“Harnessing technology in this way is really helping the Red Cross to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our aid operations."

By humanpo

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