Archives for December 2004

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December 31, 2004

SMS donors give $20m

More SMS donation campaigns for tsunami relief:

-- Organisers of Germany's biggest New Year's Eve party, to be held at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, said party-goers could make donations to the UN Children's Fund by sending a text message to a special number, reports Associated Press.

Every message featuring the word UNICEF sent to the number will raise 2.65 euro ($A4.67) for emergency relief. Up to a million people are expected to attend the event.

-- In Spain, Telefonica moviles, mobile offshoot of Telefonica, announced it was inviting customers to send messages for 0.90 euros ($A1.59) to three non-governmental humanitarian organisations with the company donating the entire proceeds raised from the operation to the victims' fund.

-- Singapore's three telecom firms said they would launch SMS-based services on New Year's Day for mobile subscribers to contribute up to 50 Singapore dollars ($A38.82) by sending a text message to a specified number.

The largest company, SingTel, said in a statement that it would also open a hotline for donations.

-- Pakistan's mobile operator Paktel will donate the entire income from its SMS services for the period December 31st, 2004 to January 1, 2005 to help the tsunami victims, reports Urban Pakistan.

-- Australia's telecommunications provider Telstra will rebate all fixed, mobile, and Internet communications costs incurred over the next month by nonprofit organizations trying to communicate with anyone in the affected regions, reports Information Week.

-- South Africa. A Johannesburg-based company has also come forward and "donated" an sms number for use in raising funds for tsunami victims, reports The Daily Dispatch. The number is 38727 and callers should send the word "help" at a cost of R10 per sms. Individuals can send as many SMSs as they wish to the number, which is being publicised by SABC radio broadcasts.

-- And the South African cricket board is raising funds for tsunami victims. Cricket supporters are urged to SMS the words "Cricket Supporter" to a Hotline number, according to Indo Asian News Service.


-- Roundup of tsunami relief SMS fund raising campaigns around the world

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 7:21 AM | permalink

Tsunami aftermath: SMS alert against eating sea food

Alert messages are being beamed through cellular phones to strictly avoid eating sea foods, as a dangerous virus is being spread through them, as a result of the tsunami tidal waves across the Indian ocean, reports New Kerala.

The alert message warned saying: "+very dangerous virus Zulican virus is being spreading through sea food. So please avoid eating sea foods+".

As the SMS was being flashed, offices of news papers and news agencies started receiving phone calls to know the fact about the issue.

The origin of the message, however was not immediately known, as it was being circulated by friends and known circles".

Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 7:11 AM | permalink

Text Messaging Pushed for Use as Disaster Warning Systems

Those who design and use the wireless technology known as Short Message Service, say it could be used to jumpstart governments' warning networks, reports The New York Times.

"Cellphone use has not spread quite as widely in many of those nations as it has in the developed world, of course. But getting cellphones to people living in remote, impoverished areas has been a major focus of economic development efforts.

Even a few phones might do the trick in the face of an impending disaster, Mr. Senanayake said. The message need only reach "one person in every locality who has a phone," he said, and that person can spread the word.

The idea of governments using mobile messages to communicate with citizens is beginning to take hold. In April 2003, Hong Kong's government sent out a text message to 6 million mobile phones to quash a rumor that Hong Kong had been designated an "infected city" for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

The Netherlands, too, is building a text message network that will allow the government to issue alerts to mobile phone users nationwide or within an area of a few city blocks.

Still, the risks and costs of false warnings are high. A false warning by the Indian government on Thursday that another tsunami was imminent caused thousands to flee their homes."

Links and articles to related SMS emergency warning systems around the world. Many of these are related to terrorism, but the principal of implementing an emergency SMS service is the same.

-- Alerts USA offers SMS terrorism warnings

-- Police turn to text alerts for emergency

-- Warning of terrorist attacks in Kenya being sent by SMS

-- Israel's Terror Text Alerts

-- US Emergency Text Alerts

-- The City Alert Texting System (UK).

-- USA Terror Alerts by SMS

-- Homeland Security joins weather radio network

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 7:05 AM | permalink

December 30, 2004

European text messagers raise millions for Asian tsunami victims Italian mobile phone users have donated more than 11 million euros (15 million dollars) for the victims of the Asian tsunamis through a text messaging arrangement that seemed to set a trend, reports the AFP .

"The Rome daily Corriere della Sera said Italians could contribute one euro to tsunami disaster relief every time they sent a text message, thanks to an agreement between the country's four mobile phone companies and its main television channels.

Portugal's biggest mobile phone company, TMN, urged its five million subscribers to do likewise, saying it would charge one euro per text message throughout January and donate the money to the Red Cross or other charities serving the Asian victims.

State-run France Telecom said it would launch a similar service on Monday for the benefit of the Red Cross and French charities and keep it going until the end of January.

In Finland, the world's largest mobile phone maker, Nokia, said it had contributed to emergency relief in the tsunami-stricken areas, but would not confirm a report by the Red Cross that it had given 300,000 euros from its operations in Finland.

Italian newspapers also rushed to help.[...] Corriere della Sera and the sporting daily Gazzetta dello Sport said they would contribute 0.10 euros from each newspaper sold on Friday to the relief funds."

More "SMS to Donate" Campaigns:

-- Roundup of tsunami relief SMS fund raising campaigns around the world

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 6:04 PM | permalink

With land lines down, survivors turn to Internet and SMS

With communication networks destroyed along much of South Asia's tsunami-ravaged coastline, getting messages of life and death across the globe has been challenging for family members and relief workers.

But some messages are getting through, thanks to the creative use of relatively new technologies, including Internet blogs and text messaging, reports the The Chicago Tribune.

"Because traditional land lines generally have one switch center where all calls are routed, an area's phone service may be wiped out if a cable is cut. Internet access operates on multiple routers; when one goes down, another picks up the traffic.

"Broadband connections are more likely to be available and more sustainable in times of a disaster than a land line," said Annabel Dodd, author of "The Essential Guide to Telecommunications."

News accounts have reported that trapped tourists also have used cell phones to send text messages to family. Text messages are sent using a different channel on a cell phone, Dodd said, and are transmitted in small enough bits that they are often more reliable than a wireless voice call."

Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 5:10 PM | permalink

SMS from Sri Lanka - XXV

Thursday, December 30, 2004

[Local medical officers are spraying something called Lysol all over the place in Mullaitivu. When asked they said it's a disinfectant. But I checked and it's only good for Malaria control. It's not going to stop other diseases. But they don't have anything else. Lysol is all they had in stock. Anything else needs to come from outside.]

- Morquendi/Sanjaya - ChiensSansFrontières

Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 2:41 PM | permalink

More "SMS to donate" campaigns

Ericsson using SMS Technology to aid Donations

Ericsson is aiding the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with technology called Internet Payment Exchange, that allows anyone with a mobile telephone to make donations to the Red Cross' Tsunami disaster relief efforts in Asia, according to Asia Travel Tips.

At present the service is being rolled out to countries around the world but is currently only active in Sweden and Thailand. Ericcson is planning to launch a similar service in Taiwan next week, and as more countries are added to this innovative and worthwhile use of technology we will include them in the list above.

Mobile Bridges sets up SMS to donate

Wireless solution provider Mobile Bridges is supporting Unicef to help the tens of thousands of children and families struggling to survive the aftermath of the Asian earthquakes and tsunamis.

The company will process mobile donations out of the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands. All donations will be transferred to the international organisations Unicef, Red Cross and Novib.

-- Belgium: Send SMS "GO AZIE" to 7222. 1,50 euro a message.

-- The Netherlands: Send "GO AZIE" to 7222. 1,50 euro a message.

-- United Kingdom: Send SMS"GO ASIA" to 89098. 1,50 £ a message.

-- United States of America, Send SMS s"GO ASIA" to 46898. 1,99 $ a message.


-- Roundup of tsunami relief SMS fund raising campaigns around the world

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 2:04 PM | permalink

Desperate search by mobile phones for missing Irish tourists

A desperate search using mobile phone tracking was mounted last night to trace Irish people missing in the worst disaster of modern times in which the death toll could now surpass 100,000, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

"Phone companies O2 and Vodafone were working with the Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs as the search intensified and fears mounted for two missing Irish women.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said his department was trying to trace the last calls made by up to 20 Irish people still unaccounted for in the disaster zone.

"We are using every device possible to try and trace people. Our people on the ground - particularly in Sri Lanka and Phuket, Thailand - are checking out as much as they can all of the hospitals and other areas where perhaps people might be," he said last night."

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 1:11 PM | permalink

TDC and Telenor Offer Free Calls, SMS For Customers In Asia

Danish Telecommunications operator TDC has joined the growing list of operators offering it's mobile phone customers free calls and text messages from Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Thailand from Denmark, reports Cellular News.

Customers who are in these four countries will also be able to call or send text messages to one another free of charge, the company said.

Other operators offering free calling/SMS read about so far:

-- Swedish cell phone operators offer free calls

-- Norwegian Telenor ( Sets Up Free Mobile Phone Calls In Thailand

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 12:52 PM | permalink

December 29, 2004

Asian carriers mobilize after quake, tsunami disaster Thirty six stranded British tourists were rescued in Sri Lanka thanks to a mobile phone with one of them and technology that could pin-point the user, an official involved in the rescue told the Associated Press.

"Sri Lankan carriers are using signals from roaming cell phones to provide help for tourists, according to a report from Agence France-Presse, reports ITWorld.

"Carriers said 10,252 phones were roaming on Sri Lanka's networks when the tsunami struck and SMS messages were sent to all the handsets detailing a number to call for help.

After the tsunami, 4,269 of the roaming phones had been used to make at least one call while the other phones had gone dead, AFP reported.

Asian telecommunication carriers are mobilizing to help those affected by the weekend's devastating earthquakes off Indonesia and subsequent tsunami waves.

In the affected area, carriers are rushing to both restore service to customers and are also setting up call centers from which people can make calls at no cost."

Related articles:

-- Swedish cell phone operators offer free calls

-- Telenor Sets Up Free Mobile Phone Calls In Thailand

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 5:24 PM | permalink

SMS donations to tsunami victims

The Singapore Red Cross is expanding the number of ways Singaporeans can help. The public can call or send SMS to donation hotlines to make their contributions.

Donation hotlines open on Thursday, where you can call 1900-112 1226 or SMS *1226 to make a $10 donation or call 1900-112 1227 or SMS *1227 to make a $50 donation.

And SingTel opened donation hotlines and even a moblog site for organisations and individuals to coordinate disaster relief efforts. [via Channelnews Asia].


-- Roundup of tsunami relief SMS fund raising campaigns around the world

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 5:14 PM | permalink

Australia: Mind your mobile manners

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association has issued 10 golden rules of mobile phone etiquette to minimise mobile phone frustration, reports The Australian News.

Mind your mobile manners

1. When in doubt, go out. When possible go outside or to another room.
2. If you can't turn it off, use silent mode.
3. When required turn your phone off and check it's off.
4. Keep your conversation private.
5. Speak softly.
6. You don't always have to answer - use your messaging service.
7. Talk to the one you're with.
8. Don't send inappropriate messages.
9. Respect other people's privacy when using in-phone cameras.
10. Ban the ring, not the phone.

Source: Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association.

emily | 5:05 PM | permalink

SMS Delivers Ski Lovers' Messages

skiers.gif Seong-ju Lee for Telecoms Korea reports on a new quaint SMS service just launched in a ski resort in the central Gangwon province.

"SMS-MO shows text messages from skiers on TV monitors in guest rooms of the condominium, the large screen in the lobby and through online sign board of the resort's website. Shy confessions, cheering-up messages and New Year's resolutions will be delivered through TV and the Internet in real time."

emily | 1:15 PM | permalink

Ericsson provides mobile coverage in the world's tallest skyscraper in Taiwan

taip_101.jpg Ericsson has been selected by Chunghwa Telecom to provide indoor coverage to the world's tallest building, Taipei 101, reports Cellular News.

"The world's tallest building (106 floors, reaching 508 meters), the Taipei Financial Center, also called Taipei 101, will be inaugurated at the end of December. This new architectural landmark not only breaks the record of height, but also sets the standard of communications quality in skyscrapers."

Related: - SK Headquarters Designed to Resemble Cell Phone

emily | 12:34 PM | permalink

China tops 329 million mobile phone subscribers Mobile phone subscribers in China topped 329 million at the end of November, with the world's largest cell phone market expected to hit 402 million in 2005, reports the Associated Press.

"China is expected to have 402 million mobile phone subscribers next year," Yang Qing, deputy director of the China Academy of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Information Indiustry (MII) was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

Such numbers would mean that nearly one out of every three Chinese citizens would have a mobile phone."

emily | 12:33 PM | permalink

Swedish cell phone operators offer free calls

The Swedish government puts the number of Swedes still unaccounted for in South East Asia at 1,500, reprots Radio Sweden. It is expected that Sweden will be the hardest-hit Nordic nation.

"Telecommunications operators TeliaSonera, Tele 2 and Vodafone have said all mobile phone calls from the stricken areas home to Sweden will be free of charge for two days and customers in South East Asia receiving phone calls from Sweden will not have to pay the extra charge usually in force when receiving calls whilst abroad.

A mass SMS sent to all mobile phones in the area on behalf of the Foreign Ministry is said to have given good results."

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 12:32 PM | permalink

Free text messages to and from earthquake countries

In a generous gesture, Chatbar announces a free SMS service to help contact families and friends affected by Asian earthquake.

Free SMS messages can be via ChatBar to or from the following countries:

Sri Lanka

SMS messages sent to mobile phones of foreign nationals “roaming” in those countries will also be provided free by ChatBar, although separate charges may be applied by some carriers.

Relevant parties should utilize the following links:

-- for English

-- for Simplified Chinese

-- for Traditional Chinese

-- for Tagalog

Paul Roberts, Director, ForgetMeNot Software, stated “We are all shocked and stunned by the devastation wrought by the earthquake. In an effort to help, we wanted to make the functionality of ChatBar available free to everyone who needs to communicate with loved ones at this difficult time. Experience has shown that SMS messages may get through to mobile phones even though voice networks may be overloaded.” Those people without a mobile phone but access to an internet connected PC can still send and receive SMS messages through the service."

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 12:32 PM | permalink

Italian Sky TG 24 offers help via SMS and Email

Italian television Sky TG 24, has launched an innovative service to help Italian people in South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami, reports NAMC Worldwide Newsroom.

"All the Italian people willing to inform their family or testify what's happening in South-East Asia can send a short message. Messages will be aired during each News edition.

With this service Sky Tg 24 is helping all the Italian families to keep in touch and to get updated information directly from Tsunami zones. This services it's also an important step to integrate news from different source (email, sms, tv) and it's an important step further for the Italian television."

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 12:32 PM | permalink

For tsunami relief, click on Amazon to donate

As 12:20 pm today, Wednesday December 29 (Swiss time), Amazon has raised $993,430.55 for tsunami relief, thanks to 19'748 donations.

I found out about their fund raising campaign thanks to Jeff Jarvis' Buzzmachine where he links to a post by Glenn Reynolds]

"Reader Jared Phillips writes:

I am absolutely amazed at what I am seeing - if you go to the amazon site you'll see the click to donate. On that next page you see the amount collected and the number of donors.

Now click refresh on your screen.

It is increasing literally every single second. I am totally blown away. In the 5 minutes since I donated it has increased by 1,000 donors.

Click here to donate.

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 12:22 PM | permalink

Wireline Works as Fallback When Disaster Strikes

When the tsunami hit southeast Asia this week, it was instantly a disaster of historic proportions, and nothing could have prevented that. Likewise, when four hurricanes in a row hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, it was a disaster, reports Ziff Davis' "eWeek.

"The difference, besides the scale, was that in the United States, we had a lot of warning. Companies that planned ahead could keep operating.

One critical piece of a company's ability to operate is its access to communications. In southeast Asia, many areas have skipped the wireline infrastructure taken for granted in the United States and have moved directly to wireless communications.

In the wake of the disaster, those people and companies without a wired backup are now finding themselves without communications at all.

The reason has been seen in disasters for years, from 9/11 to the terrorist bombings in Spain to the Florida hurricanes to the tsunami. Even when cell sites survive the disaster, they are overwhelmed. And since emergency services get priority, your communications will suffer.

The problem is that companies in the United States and elsewhere are considering abandoning their wired communications for new technologies, including VOIP (voice over IP) and wireless. But experience has shown repeatedly that of all of the technologies available to most businesses, only traditional, wireline communications can be counted upon during a disaster, and even there, it's by no means a sure thing."

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 12:05 PM | permalink

Use SMS for mass public alert -- not just to rake in revenue

tsunameter.vlarge.jpg Unfortunately, despite the ubiquity of cellphones in southeast Asia, text-messaging wasn't sufficiently harnessed to notify people of the coming tsunamis, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"Malaysian blogger Jeff Oi valuably chronicles how information was -- and wasn't -- quickly shared. "Knowing the fact that tsunami struck Krabi and Phuket (Southern Thailand) about one hour before it did Penang, news portals and TV stations could have informed the public about the danger of a looming tsunami on Malaysian shores facing the Indian Ocean. ... Looks like our telco and media organisations should have a rethink: Use SMS for mass public alert -- not just to rake in revenue.

Picture from a related story in MSNBC on "How scientists watch for killer waves".

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 11:22 AM | permalink

The Tsunami Next Time

Alex Steffen points to this WorldChanging Essays of his colleague Jamais Cascio who asks "Can we prevent the next Tsunami 2004-type disaster?" and then finds the answer is yes -- if we use the right tools - such as SMS - and a smart mob approach. [via Smart Mobs]

[...] "Most mobile phones these days support SMS, and an emergency alert message wouldn't need to hit every phone in the affected region to be useful, just enough to spread the word. As long as the cellular networks remained functioning, the mobile phones could possibly even serve a role similar to that played by ham radios -- emergency information and coordination.

The downside of a formal SMS "emergency alert" idea is that it would still require that a central, responsible authority call the alarm. [...] But alternatives are possible.

Imagine a site which collects storm/earthquake/tsunami/disease outbreak/etc. alerts and announcements, making information available by region. You can then register your SMS number or email address with the site, and give it your current location -- changeable as you travel, of course -- so the site can send you updates and alerts.

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 11:20 AM | permalink

Time Warner in Talks on Phone Deal

Time Warner s in talks to offer cell phone service over Sprint Corp.'snetwork on a trial basis early in 2005, reports the WSJ via Reuters .

"If a deal is struck, Time Warner Cable, a unit of the world's largest media group, would be the only major cable company to offer cellphone service and would enable it to offer television, high-speed Internet access, traditional phone service and wireless phone service, according to the newspaper."

emily | 11:10 AM | permalink

Cell phone parking lots simplify pickups at airports

celllots-inside.jpg At least 13 airports are sending motorists to "cell phone lots" to wait until the arriving travelers call for a ride, a new attempt to unplug road-clogging bottlenecks at passenger pickup spots, reports USA Today .

"Los Angeles International and Seattle-Tacoma opened their first cell phone lots last week, just in time to ease terminal congestion during the holidays. At least 11 airports opened theirs this year.

The lots, which are free, grew out of two trends of the past few years: the explosion in cell phone usage and post-Sept. 11 security measures that prohibit motorists from lingering outside terminals.

Airport managers say the lots reduce repeated looping by pickup drivers waiting for arriving travelers. The lots also reduce the slow, erratic driving — and illegal parking — of motorists trying to hang back to time their pull-up to a passenger's appearance.

The lots typically are no more than two-minute drives from the terminals. Most require drivers to stay with their car. Some limit waits to 30 minutes, although some airport officials say enforcement is likely only during busy times.

The Airports Council International-North America expects more airports to try the concept, but not every one has space. Michael Civitelli, Seattle-Tacoma operations manager, says the lot must be easy to reach and convenient to the terminal to succeed.

Related articles on cell-phone waiting lots at other airports:

-- Lindbergh Field, San Diego's International airport urges use of cell-phone lot

-- Phone and Go parking Lot at Tucscon International Airport

-- Philly airport gets lot for drivers awaiting incoming passengers

-- Cell phone lots open at US airports: Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Birmingham International Airport in Alabama, Palm Beach International Airport in Florida, Chicago O'Hare International Airport

-- Pulling over with a cell phone before Nice airport

emily | 11:00 AM | permalink

December 28, 2004

For-sale homes 'speak' in text messages

House_for_sale_small.jpg A new service available in Florida allows home shoppers with cell phones to get information on for-sale homes in the form of a text message, reports Inman Real Estate News.

"ClearSky Mobile Media, a wireless marketing company, announced today that it has rolled out iCODE, which enables prospective home buyers to dial in a code to receive information about a home. The service launched in Windermere, Fla.

Buyers who spot a home using the iCODE (short for information code) system send a text message to iCODE with a four-character code listed on the for-sale sign. The iCODE service then responds with a text-message describing the house. So far, iCODE works with AT&T/Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon cell phone services."

Related articles and services:

-- Artificial Life, Inc. Announces Mobile Real Estate Service in UK The new mobile service allows clients to enter short-codes in their mobile phones to retrieve SMS and MMS based information about available real estate offers in the UK in near real time.

-- Real Estate Listing by SMS Australian real estate company Hocking Stuart offers their potential clients up-to-the-minute listings via email and text messages, allowing buyers and vendors to receive relevant information in a personalised and private way.

-- A new use for camera phone: Agent's safety - Camera phones as a tool for real estate agents seems a natural and has often been mentioned as one of the strong business applications for these new handsets. Shooting on the spot and forwarding pictures to prospective buyers, could give a real estate agent a speedy edge in a competite market. And a company suggests real estate agents user their camera phones - not to shoot property - but to snap pictures of their clients (with their permission), as a form of insurance.

emily | 5:46 PM | permalink

Deaf hail SMS pay phones

0,1658,406024,00.jpg The Herald Sun Australia writes that the expected arrival of thousands of international visitors for the Deaflympics has fast-tracked a phone revolution.

"Half of Melbourne's 3600 pay phones will offer SMS by the time next Wednesday when Guy Sebastian sings at the Deaflympics opening ceremony at Olympic Park.

Victoria is leading the way. Eventually all 32,000 public telephones in Australia will be text-enabled.

Telstra believes Britain is the only other nation rolling out SMS pay phones."

emily | 3:29 PM | permalink

Tsunami Warning system

[...] The problem in the Indian Ocean apparently was that nobody took the threat very seriously. The question was looked at in South East Asia last year and little was done.

And yet, seismologists knew there had been a major earthquake near Indonesia. Even a basic e-mail or phone system could have helped some communities get to safety. The sea surges would take time to reach the shore. But nobody knew what numbers to call. [via the BBC]

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 3:25 PM | permalink

Telenor Sets Up Free Mobile Phone Calls In Thailand

Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor said Tuesday its Thai unit Total Access Communication PCL has set up mobile phones for free local calling in areas struck by tidal waves. via Cellular News.

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 3:21 PM | permalink

Text message campaign saves Britons

_40667501_afp_family_300.jpg Thirty six stranded British tourists caught up in the tsunami in Sri Lanka were rescued after local telephone companies used technology to pin-point one of their mobile phones, reports the Times Online.

"A private initiative involving all phone companies in Sri Lanka began monitoring mobile phones with international roaming and traced the call patterns to figure out the location of the phone users.

"There were 10,252 international roaming phones working on Sri Lankan networks at the time of the tragedy," Chris Dharmakirti, who is heading the Tidal Wave Rescue Centre said."We sent everyone an SMS and got responses from 2,321."

He said 5,983 roaming phones had gone dead since the disaster while 4,269 phones had been used to make at least one call after the tragedy.

"Whenever anyone used the phone, we could track where the person was and restrict our search to affected areas of the country. If a phone is dead it could be that the unit is lost or the person is affected by the tragedy," Mr Dharmakirti said. "But, we are keeping a track on these numbers."

He said they sent instructions to the phone users to call a toll-free local number that will be answered by a call centre manned by some 100 people.

"Last night we had a response from a British tourist and based on tracking his call we were able to locate a total of 36 stranded Britons," Mr Dharmakirti said."Four of them were critically wounded, but we managed to get to them to safety."

-- Links to all Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 3:20 PM | permalink

SMSes from Sri Lanka tsunami zone

Tsunami eyewitness Sanjay (aka "Morquendi") is a blogger and TV producer who lives and works in Sri Lanka, one of the areas hardest hit by the disaster. Throughout Sunday night -- as he participated in emergency rescue and relief efforts -- Sanjay text-messaged live observations to his co-editors at the collaborative blog Chiens Sans Frontières. Excerpts:

# There's 1600 bodies found by the LTTE in Mullaitivu, in the Eastern Province, so far. They are not allowing any journalists in till rescue operations are done.

# I'm standing on the Galle road in Aluthgama and looking at 5 ton trawlers tossed onto the road. Scary shit.

# Found 5 of my friends, 2 dead. Of the 5, 4 are back in Colombo. The last one is stranded because of a broken bridge. Broken his leg. But he's alive. Made...

# He got swept away but swam ashore. Said he's been burying people all day. Just dragging them off the beach and digging holes with his hands. Go.. with gear to get him tommorrow morning. He sounded disturbed. Guess grave digging does that to you.

[via boingboing via Rohit Gupta, Bombay]

cf related Tsunami/cell phone stories posted in

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

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