In Kenya, disaster preparedness is a disaster itself!! We like to wait till the last minute so as to rush in and try to rescue a situation which could have been easily avoided. However, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel as Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has partnered with Safaricom to introduce an SMS based information tool to provide early warning for disasters with an aim of reducing the adverse effects on communities.
The platform aptly named M-Salama will be available for use by all Safaricom subscribers. It will offer information on impending or upcoming natural disasters such as floods, famine and drought to enable users make early decisions on how to stay out of harm’s way. In the long term, the partnership aims to enhance disaster preparedness and strengthen community resilience.
The platform will leverage on both organizations’ core strengths that is Safaricom’s capacity to communicate quickly to large numbers of the population through SMS. Whereas Kenya Red Cross has knowledge and skills in disaster risk reduction and management.
Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS had this to say about the platform, M-Salama is a timely innovation that will save lives due to its speed in communicating with the target audiences. During the recent floods, we sent out more than ten million early warning messages, information that guided many families to move to higher ground. Today, telcos are well placed to offer colossal support in disaster reduction by using their resources to improve the timely flow of crucial information before, during and after the disaster.”
To access M-Salama, one only needs to dial *600# on your Safaricom line and each SMS costs Ksh.1.