Bangladesh Introduces SMS Cyclone Alert System (June 25, 2009) — Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world is trialling a text message service to warn people of natural disasters, including floods and cyclones.

CycloneThe SMS service to warn people would be piloted for six months in the southeastern districts of Cox’s Bazar, where cyclones frequently hit, and Sirajganj in the north, prone to flooding, the Disaster Management Bureau spokesman Syed Ashraf said.

He added, “The SMS messages will be sent warning people of floods or cyclones. They’ll be told whether to go to shelters and what to do.”

Almost 300 people were killed when Cyclone Aila hit southern Bangladesh and West Bengal in India on May 25. In 1970, around half-a-million people died in a cyclone; an estimated 138,000 people died as a result of a cyclonic surge in 1991 and 3,500 people died during a cyclone in November 2007.

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