The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) has developed a new mobile phone application that will help people prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
The PMI launched the Android app known as the Mass Rapid Assessment (MRA) programme, at an information technology seminar hosted October 30th by Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) in South Jakarta.
"Indonesia is prone to natural disasters . Our country is located on the Equator, with a good amount of active volcanos. We are also an archipelago surrounded by water," PMI disaster management head Sumarsono told Khabar Southeast Asia.
"With this new app, people can share information where and when the disaster occurs, and how to avoid dangers and to find shelter, among other things."
The first-of-its-kind-developed in Indonesia app also will help government agencies and civil society groups respond faster to nature-related emergencies, PMI spokesman Anggun Purnama Sidiq said.
But National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the app would need to be tested to determine its usefulness during humanitarian crises.
"It is a good step forward in managing disaster preparedness. I guess it will take time to see how effective this will be," Sutopo told Khabar, adding that the app would bring hope to people living in areas prone to natural disasters.
North Sumatra resident Adrianus Nababan, who lives near Mount Sinabung , which recently erupted after a decade of dormancy, said the app was user-friendly and up to date.
"So far, more than 3,000 residents living in the area have been evacuated. What I found useful with this app is it gives you detailed information so fast regarding where you can go, including short cuts and safer ways to travel," Adrianus told Khabar.