Ahead of the rain season, the Department of Meteorological Services (DMS) says they will use the new social network system, Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to help citizens get instant information on the weather.
CAP is an international standard format for emergency alerting and public warning and is designed for “all-hazards”, related to weather events including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, amongst many. CAP is also designed for “all-media”, including communications media ranging from sirens, faxes, radio, television, and various digital communication networks based on the Internet. The CAP format enables simultaneous communication of alerts for any kind of emergency over many different alerting systems, thus increasing effectiveness while simplifying the alerting task.
A Senior Official from the DMS, Charles Molongwane told Arts & Society that since its introduction last year, CAP has attracted a lot of followers despite the system having its own shortcomings.
“The fact that it uses internet somehow closes out those who do not have sufficient access to internet. Some of those with access to the internet also often find it difficult to effectively use the link to the information. There also are some technicalities here and there that prove problematic,” said Molongwane, adding that they are developing software to address that.
He said the department is still in contact with the Tanzanians who trained them last year in case they need assistance.
Molongwane said that his department’s decision to come up with the training was informed by the outcomes of a World Meteorological Services (WMO) meeting his department attended, in Switzerland in June, 2015. One of the resolutions the meeting adopted was the issuing of CAP messages by member states. Member states had to undergo training first and acquire necessary resources to publish such messages. Just three months after the meeting, his department successfully published the first CAP message. Out of the seven African countries that got CAP training, three have published messages; and Botswana is the third, though it was the seventh to get training. Not all who trained managed to publish.
For two days the trainers, Victor Hassam and Hellen Msemo took trainees through the process of Information Technology commands used in installing the CAP. On the third day, which excluded the Media, the trainers and meteorology Information Technology staff were installing the CAP at the DMS premises. On the fourth day real weather forecasts were published through the installed CAP.