Kenya Red Cross, Safaricom roll out an SMS system for early disaster warning

Kenya Red Cross, Safaricom roll out an SMS system for early disaster warning

From Left: Safaricom Foundation Chairman Joseph Ogutu, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore and Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Dr. Abbas Gullet. The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has partnered with Safaricom to introduce an SMS based information tool to provide timely early warnings for disasters and lessen the adverse effects on communities.

The platform, dubbed M-Salama, will be available to 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. 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,” Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS, said. M-Salama leverages both organizations’ core strengths; Safaricom’s capacity to communicate quickly to large numbers of the population through its SMS infrastructure and Kenya Red Cross’ knowledge and skills in disaster risk reduction and management.

The M-Salama emergency SMS information system strives to reduce loss of lives and property, both which have severe impact on the survival, dignity and livelihood of individuals and reversal of development gains.

To access M-Salama, one needs to dial *600# at a costs of Ksh.1 per SMS.

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