Monday, February 2, 2009

Disaster Emergency Warning Network (DEWN)

Sri Lanka’s First Mass Alert Emergency Warning System Launched

30 January 2009, Colombo: The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka, together with Dialog Telekom launched Sri Lanka’s first mass alert warning system – the Disaster & Emergency Warning Network (DEWN), under the patronage of Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights. DEWN was developed by Dialog in collaboration with its partners the Dialog-UoM Research Lab and Microimage, following research and development undertaken after the tsunami disaster of 2004. DEWN is controlled by the DMC and is an Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) initiative by Dialog.

How DEWN Works

The Emergency Operations Centre of the DMC has been given access to the secure DEWN alerting interface. When information is received by the DMC, the information is verified and alerts can be issued.

In a potential disaster scenario, the DMC will first use DEWN to alert the emergency personnel on their individual phones, and public alerts will be issued only when a threat is adequately verified. In addition to messages received on mobile phones, specially designed DEWN remote alarms will also be used to alert nominated emergency personnel.

SMS -> District Coordinators of the DMC (25 Districts)
SMS -> Members in the Key Contact Database (heads of different institutions such as schools, hospitals, police stations, etc.)
SMS -> To the DEWN alarm devices which are located at the community centers
Cell Broadcast -> to the General Public (DEWN Alarm device too supports CB)



  1. Do we need to have Dialog phone connection to receive alerts??? Or can these alerts be received on any phone??

  2. .

    There are several ways of we reaching the people (disseminating the Early Warning information to the people in Sri Lanka). You to have the Cell Broadcast message, yes, you have to be one of 5 million Dialog customers.

    But there are some other ways you can receive the Early Warning information, such as through the DEWN Alarm Device at community places and emergency personnel who get the SMS messages in case of a disaster.


  3. Hi, Sameera, Great Initiative. Thanking you for your tireless effort to activate the system.
    Rohan Cooray
    Project Coordinator

  4. .
    Hi Rohan

    Welcome, It is for the benefit of the all the citizens of Sri Lanka.


  5. Niranjan MeegammanaFebruary 5, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    Something we really needed
    How does someone register to recive early alerts

  6. .
    Thanks Niranjan.

    Registration is applicable only for members of the Key Contact Database of the Disaster Management Centre, but that is not open for general public. It is for people like head of hospitals, schools, police stations, government offices, etc.

    For the general public – there is no need of a registration; they automatically get the alert through a technology called “Cell Broadcast”, for that your mobile phone should be configured. If you see the area info on your mobile that is the location such as Nugegoda, Narahenpita, etc. on your mobile then you don’t want to worry about the configuration. You will automatically get the alert message in case of a disaster.


  7. Article on the DEWN on DMC web site;

  8. I Read your Articles

    Your Blog looks Good

    Beach Resort Sri Lanka

  9. .

    Hi Rohan

    Please make only subject related comments.



  10. Blog Cell Broadcast :

  11. Sydney - International aid has begun arriving on the Samoan islands, after a tsunami Tuesday killed at least 150 people and destroyed dozens of coastal villages.

    Even as relief teams confront the aftermath of the tsunami – which threw successive walls of water up to 650 feet inland and was followed by another earthquake Wednesday – the disaster is drawing attention to how much warning residents could have gotten ahead of time.

    This week's events in the South Pacific demonstrate that early-warning systems are not fail-safe and education is as important as technology, seismologists and disaster management experts say.

    "People assume that if they have an early-warning system, their problems are solved," says James Goff, director of the Australian Tsunami Research Centre, based at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. "But it's only one of a suite of ways of being aware what's going on. What's really needed is education about the natural indicators. If you live by the coast and there's a very large earthquake, or if you see the water receding very quickly and going much lower than low tide, you need to move uphill."

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued its first alert 18 minutes after Tuesday's quake. By that time the first tidal wave had crashed into villages and resorts in Samoa and American Samoa. Those who survived had already fled to higher land, rattled by powerful earth tremors lasting several minutes.

    It takes scientists at least 15 minutes to analyze essential data about an earthquake, including its magnitude, depth, and precise location, according to Professor Goff. So, if the quake strikes close to shore, as it did on this occasion, communities are unlikely to receive an alert in time.

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