Mukudzei Chingwere Midlands Bureau
The Meteorological Services Department has introduced a disaster alert technology system that will intermittently interrupt signals on radio stations whenever there is important information on weather patterns that the nation needs to know.
The new technology, which is the first of its kind to be introduced in Zimbabwe, will also see the Met department distributing small radios to flood-prone areas across the country so that villagers quickly get important information on impending danger.
In an interview yesterday, Meteorological Services Department systems engineer, Dennis Kapaso said they were now liaising with various local radio stations about the new system.
“We have come up with the technology of what we call Early Warning Radios which will interrupt radio signals whenever there is an important piece of information that the Met departments wants to convey,” he said. Eng Kapaso said they have since engaged Radio Zimbabwe for a test run of the new system with plans afoot to involve all radio stations in the country.
At the moment we have started with Radio Zimbabwe for our pilot project. We have done all the test runs and with Radio Zimbabwe everything is now in place. We can interrupt their frequency anytime the Met Department wants to relay an important message, be it in your car or your home radio. But not all Zimbabweans listen to Radio Zimbabwe, we are therefore, negotiating with other local radio stations so that the system can interrupt any station,” he said.
Eng Kapaso said the Met department has also acquired special radios to be distributed to floods prone areas so that villagers stay updated on weather patterns. He said the radios which are from China were designed in such a way that they quickly receive information from the Met department.
He said equipment to send signals were installed last year. “We are now ready to go and all the provincial meteorological department are aware of the new system. Floods killed 300 people last year and displaced 2 000.