Early disaster warnings save lives and money

A global disaster expert says using digital technologies to send out warning alerts and messages before natural disasters can help save more than lives.

Dr. Li Wei-Sen, who heads Taiwan's centre for Disaster Reduction, co-chairs a global group promoting early warning systems to safeguard homes and businesses when disasters hit.

He was in Papua New Guinea last week for APEC meetings on digital technologies and disaster risk.

He says the major earthquake which hit PNG ten days ago provides some important messages for the leaders on using early warning systems to get the word out.

"We hope (APEC) leaders can uphold the concept of regional collaboration on information sharing, which will also impact people travelling in the APEC region," he says. 

Dr. Wei-Sen says an effective mass alerts systems would rely on strong telecommunications networks with national coverage and reach.

"As a developing member economy in APEC, they know the ways to use early warning systems," he says.

"For telecommunications in Papua New Guinea, if we can introduce a mature, reliable telecommunications system and an Early Warning System, we can help PNG to lower the future risk," he says.

APEC is looking at early warning systems to help countries in the Asia-Pacific region plan ahead and prepare for impacts from natural disasters.