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A standalone emergency digital high frequency (HF) radio communication system to support its communication work in times of disasters has been handed over to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) early this week.

Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Mr Loti Yates stated that the NDMO depends on telecommunications network, SIBC and other forms of communication networks to get early warning public safety messaging out to the public within sufficient time possible for evacuation purposes. However, with previous disasters such as the Gizo Tsunami and the Temotu Tsunami, congestions in the telecommunications network occurred.

“It is because of these experiences and the critical need to ensure early warning public safety messaging reaches out to those in remote areas, arose the need to have a standalone communication system that will ensure NDMO continue to give out early warnings, and ensure communication with their Provincial Disaster Officers is not disrupted, and for early feedback of impact assessments to the NDMO/NEOC for disaster relief work.”

The director pointed out the new digital HF emergency radio system proved reliable in last week’s earthquake in Kirakira where the earthquake’s impact was large.

“When the earthquake struck, the duty officer from the National Emergency Communication Room remotely triggered the Kirakira emergency digital radio siren alarm system from Honiara.

“This siren alerted the Provincial Disaster Officer in Kirakira to activate the Kirakira Provincial Emergency Operation Centre. The siren alarm highlighted to Kirakira Township residents they were highly in danger and need to evacuate to safety.