The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Open Garden Inc. announced today their partnership for deploying FireChat's pioneering, disaster-proof technology on the occasion of the Shake Drill to be held in Manilaon June 22nd, 2016.
Launched in May 2016 at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, FireChat Alerts leverages the FireChat network for disaster preparedness. It allows select organizations, media and NGOs to share critical information and advisories, even in the absence of cell networks. Alerts are transmitted directly from one smartphone to the next and reach people who would otherwise be unreachable because networks are not available or because they don't have load. The MMDA will be the first organization in the world to use FireChat Alerts.
The MMDA will be conducting the Shake Drill with the participation of all sectors of society, from educational and religious organizations to the private sector. The objective of the Metro Manila Shake Drill is to challenge and improve the disaster preparedness and response abilities of every group in the event of a "big one" - or major earthquake - hitting Metro Manila. The Shake Drill simulates an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude along the West Valley Fault System that traverses the metropolis. In this scenario, traditional communication networks will be rapidly congested and physical infrastructure may get severely damaged, making the dissemination of critical information extremely challenging and complicating rescue operations.
"It's a scientific reality that a major earthquake could hit Metro Manila and its 22 Million inhabitants at any moment. In the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake coming from the West, there would be at least 35,000 casualties and 100,000 people injured," said Emerson Carlos, Chairman of MMDA. "We are very interested in exploring how FireChat Alerts can help maintain vital communication lines between the MMDA and the citizens of Metro Manila during an event of this scale. Deploying this technology during a preparedness drill is the perfect way to understand its potential."
"It is often said that information in times of disaster is as important as food and shelter," said Marina Azcarate, Head of Global Marketing at Open Garden. "It is a great honor to be working with the MMDA in a cross-sector effort to increase preparedness by rolling out a new technology that could help save many lives."
To maximize the coverage and efficiency of the peer-to-peer network, the MMDA encourages all citizens, including LGU officials and volunteers, as well as private sector partners, to download FireChat, the free messaging app, on their Android or iOS smartphone. FireChat is available for free at:http://firech.at/MMShakeDrill