Mentawai tsunami: solar powered transistors and satellite phones could keep safe lives

It is credible to establish an efficient and besides cheap tsunami warning method by using existing structures and involving the coastal populations in its maintenance.

The October 25 tsunami took nearly 500 lives in the Mentawai Archipelago.

There have been rumors on the Internet that the Indonesian tsunami alarm method had not been operative and failed to keep safe the dwellers. This does not look to be correct, even if it is true that above fifty percent of the system are currently not operative.

A warning has been send out by the national TV stations early after the quake. But it was useless for the people residing there, as they do not have electricity, TV, or cell-phone coverage. How to broadcast tsunami warnings to them?.

Despite the fact an alert was transmit on the Indonesian national TV stations 10 minutes after the quake affected off the coast of Sumatra, most of the Mentawai coastal villages did not receive it. They do not have satellite receiver.

The most convenient technique to broadcast a tsunami warning to these populations would be to use the Mentawai-language radio frequency broadcasted from Padang that they give attention to daily, using simple battery powered radios. The next process will be to supply each village-head with a solar-powered receiver that can stay permanently on and be employed as a tsunami warning tool.

Siloinak Surf Resort is approaching this local radio station to propose assistance to organize a constant protected communication channel with the Indonesian tsunami warning authorities. This will allow them to broadcast a tsunami warning 5 minutes merely after the tremor.

Ideally, each village should also be donated a solar-powered Indonesian-made satellite phone PASTI, the rates of which are affordable even to poor fishermen. They would be maintained by the village grocery-store, church or village leader, and could be used as an advanced warning system controlled by the population themselves. Siloinak Surf Resort is trying to raise money to buy and hand out these radios and phones to the villages.

Siloinak Surf Resort is a surf camp that organizes also sustainable development actions.

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