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Raed Arafat: Citizen early alert system is essential; it must be implemented at any costs

The citizen early alert system is essential in case of bad weather and also post-disaster and it must be implemented at any costs, Secretary of State with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) Raed Arafat stated on Wednesday.

“In our opinion, the Department for Emergency Situations, we reiterate the major importance of such a system. For us, the citizen early alert system is essential, and not just in case of bad weather, but also for other types of emergency situations, for we also need to communicate our messages including post-disaster. Only for earthquake we won’t issue alerts for now. But after the earthquake, definitely we should, a system like this would be very useful in emergency situations. And also having a system like this became of a major importance and we have been raising the issued and I believe that now is the time when we should take the next steps and implement it at any costs,” Arafat told a debate organized by the Committee for information technology and communications of the Deputies Chamber discussing the implementation of a national citizen alert system via SMS in case of disaster.

He also added that another factor to be considered is that for some phenomena the time available for issuing the alert is very short.

According to him, the system will be used by the Department for Emergency Situations and IGSU (the Inspectorate General for Emergency Situations). “ANCOM will be in charge with the implementation, together with the private operators, but we also have the Special Telecommunications Service that will play an important role in supporting us to find and manage this solution. There could also be other secondary beneficiaries of the alert system, but the main one will be the institution for Emergency Situations,” specified Arafat.

The DSU head also said that each institution will play its role in the creation of this system and that the solution will be implemented in two stages, based on a clear calendar.

The ANCOM head, Adrian Dita, also said in his turn that this is about a joint effort to be invested in the implementation of this system in the shortest while, although he couldn’t give a clear deadline for it, in the context in which “everything depends on the identification of a correct and functional solution.”

He also said that this is going to be concrete research of the existing solutions, alongside the European institutions.

Mihai Constantin, the representative of the Association of Mobile Phones Operators in Romania, specified that they are ready to participate in creating this system, but costs are implied.

“We expect the working group to come up with very clear results in terms of who what needs to do, what needs to be paid, for I must say that, right now, the private telephony operators’ networks are not ready yet for this, they are not compatible. (…) This requires investments, additional investments, equipment, software implementation, solutions for a centralized coordination via the STS in order to reach to the final beneficiary, the Romanian citizen,” said Constantin.

He also underscored that there is need of a normative act to participate in this system.

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