Asia-Pacific E-Resilience Toolkit Best Practice
Disaster Early Warning Phone Number
By dialing 10941 in Bangladesh, people can receive emergency alerts and early warning information related to weather, rainfall, cyclones, floods and landslides. The service is provided free of charge, irrespective of the mobile phone operator.
The following warnings are disseminated:
- Inland River port warnings, four times daily, for safer river navigation.
- Sea bulletins, twice daily, to help protect the incoming and outgoing vessels traveling on the Bay of Bengal.
- 24 Hours Weather Forecast including rainfall and temperature for the general public.
- 5 Day Weather Forecasts including rainfall and temperature for farmers.
Traditionally early warning and alerts in Bangladesh followed push protocols where alerts and warnings were broadcast on Television, Radio and published in Newspapers at the time of emergencies only. Officials working on disaster management and relief realized that these channels of information dissemination were inefficient and ineffective in terms of reaching the most at risk communities at the right time, hindering these communities from preparing well ahead of any potential disasters. The increase in mobile phone users opened up an avenue to introduce pull protocols where people can now receive alerts and warning whenever needed, allowing them to prepare themselves for potential disasters accordingly.
When someone dials the number, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) based system takes them through to the alert they are listening for. The system was first piloted in 2010 and then scaled-up to cover the entire country.
The system is part of the efforts of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief to reduce risk and be better prepared for multi-hazards. This type of mobile phone leveraging tool contributes to the e-resilience of vulnerable communities and addresses critical gaps in information dissemination in preparation for and during disasters.