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OrBorJor warning system in the works

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OrBorJor warning system in the works | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) is planning to establish and operate its own 8.8-million-baht emergency radio network and warning system in order to help prevent a repeat of the December 26 disaster.

The idea is the brainchild of OrBorJor President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr, who said her own efforts to coordinate an emergency response to the tsunami failed when mobile telephone networks became jammed.

“I happened to be at the OrBorJor‘s Tourist Rescue Center at Ao Chalong when the first wave hit. After it did, I was able to warn people there to run up to the hills using the local public address system. But it was impossible for me to get in contact with other beaches – because I couldn’t get a connection on my mobile phone,” she said.

K. Anchalee’s plan involves the installation of 11 repeater antennae providing coverage at all island beaches.

At a cost of 800,000 baht each, these would be set up at Laem Phromthep; Kamala Beach; Baan Tri Trang in Patong; on a hillside between Patong and Kalim; Nai Thon Beach; Bang Dug Hill in Mai Khao; Ao Por; Cape Yamoo; Khao Kat Viewpoint; Chalong Pier; and Nakkerd Hill.

Watchtowers would be set up at Ao Chalong, Patong, Kata-Karon and Kamala, with vigilant OrBorJor personnel keeping a sharp eye on the sea for any irregularities that might constitute a public danger. If a tsunami approached, people on the beaches could be warned to evacuate via loudspeakers set up at the beaches and by members of the OrBorJor beach guard, who would receive the warning by walkie-talkie.

Many analysts have warned that the proposed international tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean would save lives only if used in conjunction with effective local systems for rapid dissemination of emergency information.

K. Anchalee said she prefers not to wait for the Government’s early-warning system. “That will take a long time to set up and will involve a great deal of international cooperation,” she said.

“While people are still afraid of the sea it is essential to set up the radio warning network to look after the public so that life can go on,” she said, adding that the system could also be used to warn people of non-tsunami dangers.

“I believe this radio network will save lives, and the OrBorJor has sufficient budget to set up and operate the system on its own.

“I will propose this project to the Provincial Council, and if they agree with me, we can get immediate approval and have it up and running in 180 days,” she said, without specifying a date as to when she would present the plan to the council.

 

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