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Financial Times carries a column on IOTX: 10 years later, what have we learned?

From today’s Financial Times:

When asked to explain the importance of CAP, I find it helpful to contrast today’s media and disaster-management environments with those that existed at the time of the 1978 east coast cyclone where around 250,000 people were displaced (about the same as by the 2004 tsunami), but only around 900 died (as against over 30,000 in 2004).

Then, there was only one electronic media organisation, the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. It had six channels, but the news and information on all six channels originated from one news room (I worked there in 1978). We easily coordinated with the Department of Meteorology, the sole entity responsible for cyclone warnings. On the ground there were far fewer electronic media devices than now, but people like the late GA Mr Anthonymuttu were able to effectively move people out of harm’s way.

Today, there are a multitude of media and channels (TV, radio, mobile phones, and Internet) and multiple media organisations. The likelihood of errors and distortions getting into warning messages as they pass through multiple links is that much higher now. The complexity of the first-responder system is also that much higher.

CAP is intended to reduce the likelihood of distortion and also increase the speed of communicating warnings. In an ideal scenario, the authorised entity will press one button and the conversion of the formatted message to different forms for multiple media and transmission will be done automatically and instantaneously.

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