11 Jun 2016

Tuvalu to intoduce new early warning system

9:58 am on 11 June 2016

A new early warning system to be introduced in Tuvalu next month aims to help outlying communities better prepare for natural disasters.

Funafuti's oceanside shoreline, Tuvalu

Funafuti's oceanside shoreline, Tuvalu Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The US made Chatty Beetle technology is able to send and receive short data messages to the internet over the Iridium satellite network anywhere in the World.

The coordinator of Tuvalu's National Adaptation Programme of Action, Soseala Tinilau, said the idea was to use the device to send early warnings from the region's metservices directly to communities around the country.

Mr Tinilau said the first consignment of Chatty Beetles would arrive next month and the aim was to have the devices set up in a central public location in all major villages.

"So when there is a warning that equipment will beep and it only stops when you press it."

"So when you press it and it stops there is a screen on it that is when you will receive the message whether it is a tsunami or a strong wind warning or any other type of meteorological warnings," he said.

Soseala Tinilau said once the devices have been distributed, disaster authorities will conduct mock warning exercises to familiarise communities with the device.