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SMS is riding the wave of philanthropy

By Matthew Chung

03 February,2012

Now that 2012 is here, the theories about the end of the world seem more real than ever. In the last decade, there havSMS text messaging is helping save people's livese been many things to worry about – war, the economy, terrorism. The biggest disasters since 2001 have been earthquakes and tsunamis. Haiti, Japan, the continents around the Indian Ocean, New Zealand; they've all been hit by the devastation brought by this freak waves. They cause billions in property damage, and cause thousands of deaths. Often they occur in less developed countries where there are ineffective warning systems in place, if any at all.

But help is on the way through the use of SMS text messaging. Following the Indian Ocean tsunami of Boxing Day 2004 where it was estimated that 230,000 people were either dead or missing, the United Nations set up the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System, which uses SMS technology to alert people of impending tsunamis thus saving thousands of lives. Sea walls only work for certain kinds of waves, and people can be notified any time, any place.

In India, more people use SMS than the internet – about 246 million against 20 million. This is being used by companies to provide an efficient alert system, monitoring local earthquake activity and alerting registered members with text messages. Making use of users' longitude and latitude taken from their registered location to calculate their distance from the earthquake. The user is then sent a text message detailing earthquake magnitude, the time, date and location of the earthquake along with the threat level. Since then, a number of identical systems have been set up globally in earthquake sensitive areas, seeing that SMS is an affordable, simple-to-use

SMS text messaging is also allowing for an increase in charity in these dire situations. When Japan was struck by a tsunami in March 2011 and it destroyed a number of nuclear power stations in the area, various SMS mobile network operators from Europe and North America set up SMS donation systems. This has provided some relief for the people trapped in this dire situation.

SMS text messaging is helping change people's lives...and even save them in some cases. It won't be too long before identical systems for SMS technology are installed. SMS text messaging is definitely the best way to communicate with people on mass in remote locations.


Geoff, London 23 April, 2012 · Edit Reply

I would love to see more systems like this put in place. It's amazing that more people still haven't cottoned onto what a great technology this is, and the enormous amount of good it could do.

Michael, Leeds 23 April, 2012 · Edit Reply

I was in India when the Boxing Day tsunami struck in 2004. While I was fortunately inland when it happened, I saw on TV the death and devastation that the waves caused. If there was a system like SMS in place, maybe more lives could have been saved.

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