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Study on e-Disaster communications using advanced ICT in the Kingdom of Tonga

First Study Group Meeting taking place in Tonga

BHN Association has started to study e-Disaster communications using advanced ICT in the Kingdom of Tonga, together with Japan Telecommunications Engineering and Consulting Service (JTEC), Tongan Government and Japan ICT Overseas Volunteers (ICTOV) Group.

The study is funded by Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT ) J2 scheme and will last 11 months until March 2013. BHN Association will be participating in the study with its expertise in the field of disaster communication systems such as CA (community addressing) and FM radio stations.

 

The Kingdom of Tonga is a country located in Polynesia and, due to its geographical location, is known to be a country vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes. Therefore, establishment of an effective communication means to collect disaster information and to disseminate evacuation orders to its people is one of its top priorities.

 

 

The first meeting of the study group took place in Tonga on 4-8 June. Four Japanese ICT experts comprising two from JTEC, one from ICTOV and another from BHN visited Tonga to discuss with the Tongan experts and to visit sites vulnerable to tsunami and other natural disasters.

 

 

 

The scope of the study will cover two areas: disaster information system addressing information sharing among the organizations responsible for disaster management/information and emergency community addressing systems to disseminate information to the residents.

 

The second meeting will take place in July in Japan with four Tongan experts visiting Japan for discussions and site visits.

 

There seems to be much expectation on the study among the Tongans such that the visit by the Japanese team was reported on the Tongan TV and that the Prime Minister of Tonga spared his busy time to meet the Japanese team.

 

BHN, together with other members of the study group, intends to contribute to the study by utilizing its expertise in the disaster communication systems.

 

Makoto Yamashita, Secretary General

 

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