Empowering Communities: The impact of Early Warning System 1294 on Disaster Preparedness in Cambodia

Published: Jan 25, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Chun Bunlin, Deputy Village Chief in Kompong Spue Province
© Foto: PIN Cambodia

“Early warning alerts are important, and they can save many lives from natural hazards”, shared Mr. Chun Bunlin, Deputy Village Chief in Kampong Spue Province.

Mr. Chun Bunlin is an active community member who has been registered with EWS1294 since 2020. His participation highlights the system's grassroots reach and its ability to engage local leaders in disaster preparedness efforts. With Mr. Chun Bunlin's involvement, the EWS demonstrates its effectiveness in bridging the gap between technology and community resilience, ensuring that vital information reaches those who need it most in times of natural hazards.

The community’s safety is Mr. Bunlin’s responsibility, as he needs to disseminate weather-related information to the residents. He must advise them on necessary precautions, including preparing for evacuation if the area was at high risk. However, Mr. Chun faced challenges in fulfilling this role effectively.

“At times, I did not have enough time to relay the information to all households. This could really put many lives in danger and at risk. People need to reach safety in time”, said Mr. Chun Bunlin.

Without early warning alerts, this could increase people’s vulnerability to the impacts of natural hazards. The consequences of these natural hazards extend beyond the immediate safety concerns; it can also impact agriculture, livestock, and other essential infrastructure. The challenges faced by Mr. Chun in timely dissemination of warnings highlight the critical need for a more efficient and reliable early warning system to enhance the community's preparedness and response to such events.

With EWS 1294, the community has experienced a significant enhancement in their safety and resilience. By being better informed and prepared, people are now equipped to protect themselves and their livelihoods from the impact of hazards, with a higher level of preparedness and safety. The system aligns with the nation’s vision of developing innovative technological solutions, saving lives, and strengthening disaster management and emergency response mechanisms.

Mr. Chun no longer has to personally inform people in each household to be aware of incoming floods; the system can do this work now. Most of his community members are already registered with EWS 1294, which ensures they receive timely information three days before a flood, allowing sufficient time for preparation. This proactive approach has significantly improved the community's resilience and ability to mitigate the impact of natural hazards.

Mr. Chun Bunlin shares, "As a Deputy Village Chief in Kompong Spue Province, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of the Early Warning System 1294 on our community's safety and resilience. Its timely alerts and vital information have empowered us to take proactive measures, significantly reducing the risks posed by natural disasters.

The Early Warning System (EWS), developed in 2013, is one of Cambodia's most innovative technologies, dedicated to keeping Cambodians safe from natural hazards. It achieves this through various dissemination channels, including Interactive Voice Response (IVR) through "1294," public loudspeakers installed in public spaces in Battambang province, a public Telegram group channel, and radio broadcasting through ABC Radio's network. Additionally, the EWS is soon to launch the SMS Broadcasting technology in partnership with Smart Axiata, a leading telecommunication network company in Cambodia.

Autor: Sem Senghorng

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