Sri Lanka: Dialog assists Disaster Management

Posted on January 31, 2009  /  9 Comments


Dialog Telekom PLC in collaboration with its partners Dialog University of Moratuwa Mobile Communications Research Laboratory and Microimage Technologies together with the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of Sri Lanka launched Sri Lanka’s first ever mass alert warning system; the ‘Disaster and Emergency Warning Network’ (DEWN) yesterday under the patronage of Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe.

Speaking on the launch of DEWN Group Chief Executive Officer, Dialog Telekom PLC, Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya said that “There are 10 million people in this country who have access to telecommunication and mobile services. Now the mobile has become a powerful tool which could be called as a ‘Digital Empowerment Device’ and our citizens are digitally empowered into the digital network”. Dr. Wijayasuriya went onto say that now one can even provide banking and other information services via a mobile phone unit adding that the Dialog News Alert service has now reached 350,000 subscribers.

DEWN is a system that was being tested by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) to alert Dialog mobile users of potential disasters via a method called ‘Cell Broadcast’. Users only need to configure area information reception settings on their Dialog mobiles to receive the alerts issued. The DMC takes the responsibility to adequately verify any emergency situation and issue alerts. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Dialog Telekom PLC and Disaster Management Centre to start the DEWN. In a potential disaster scenario, the DMC will first use DEWN to alert emergency personnel on their individual phones, and public alerts will be issued only when a threat is adequately verified. In addition to alerts received on the mobile phones, specially designed DEWN remote alarms will also be used to alert nominated emergency personnel. Cell Broadcast is currently available only on the Dialog GSM network and not yet available on #G mode.

Addressing the gathering Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe said that “since December 26th 2004, when we lost 38,000 lives and when the tsunami caused serious damage to the assets of our economy and development of the country, the Government has moved into make Sri Lanka a safe place”. The Minister also highlighted the importance of private sector corporate social responsibility projects that enhance and enrich the lives of people. “Disaster prevention and mitigation in this country is essential for rapid economic strategy and sustainable economic development of Sri Lanka” Minister Samarasinghe said adding that the 24 hour operating Disaster Management Centre will be the focal point when sending the alerts via Dialog network.

Read the full story in Daily Mirror here.


  1. I was there but don’t remember anybody saying this works on Cell Broadcasting, as reported. Will be grateful if Harsha Purasinghe of Microimage clarifies the technology.

  2. Thanks Chanuka for a blog post on the official DEWN launch. The system which was deployed with DMC is CB enabled where they can do a CB message any time. However, at present the message will be targeted to Home Zone on channel 50. In future once we sort out few technical matters with the CBC we will enable the designated local channel, where phone ringer could be triggered as specified.

    When it comes to the DEWN-Alarm box it’s designed to be triggered even on channel 50, where the device will activate the laudable Alarm apart from displaying trilingual message on the display.

    Will keep you posted on more developments. However the good news is that DMC now have access to alert mobile phones via multiple sources + triggering alarm devices which will be deployed to relevant points.

  3. In the HazInfo RAD was chosen as a model for its wake up function with loudest siren noise and mega flashing light. Hopefully with 3GPP the data speeds will be fast for future units to supply a nomadic internet feed as well, unless it already does. However, the last-mile problem is still unanswered?

  4. This article says Cell Braod casting is available only on Dialog.

    “Cell Broadcast is currently available only on the Dialog GSM network”

    This is wrong. The other operators also have this facility. I used to receive greatings during New year, Cristmas ect through this channel…

  5. Hi Chanuka

    Following is how the Disaster Management Centre Disseminate the Early Warning information to the citizen of Sri Lanka through Disaster Emergency Warning Network (DEWN).

    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)


  6. Last I heard, Channel 50 will not sound any alarms. Has this issue (along with the character limitation on that channel) been solved? If it is to be broadcast on Channel 50 to the “general public” as Sameera mentions above, can mobile users opt out or opt-in at their discretion? When might CB (with trilingual output) have its own dedicated channel(s) in Sri Lanka that is standard across all networks (not just Dialog)?

    Congrats to Dialog and MicroImage on this incredible step forward!

  7. .
    Hi Natasha

    Yes, Channel 50 is not with sound currently, but will be with sound in the near future.

    The number of characters it supports is not really a limitation, because even if CB supports 1000 characters, our normal phones will not be able show it properly, also it will not be readable.