Thai ministries and agencies will share data to help citizens get early warning before disasters to get to safety.

The National Disaster Warning Center, the Department of Lands, and satellite communication station in Bangkok signed a memorandum of understanding. The agreement will bring together data from across these agencies to evaluate how risks can be reduced during a disaster.

Data is “an important factor to provide quick, accurate, and timely disaster warning messages and information”, said Somsak Khaosuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary for ICT.

The disaster centre set up its early warning system was set up in 2012, eight years after the tsunami killed 5,395 people in Thailand. At the time, residents did not receive any warnings of the disaster.

The system is capable of calculating the speed of a tsunami and tell officials when it will reach the shore. This can be done within two minutes after a wave forms, a senior disaster official has told The Nation. Satellites and warning towers will send alerts to citizens within 15 minutes, he said.

However, Khaosuwan, then the head of the disaster centre, has expressed concern over its preparedness. “We put our systems to the test each day. Our warning system is one of the best in the world, but I must admit we lack maintenance,” he said, according to Reuters.

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