A disaster alert messaging system is to be introduced by the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) whereby citizens will get text messages within 20 seconds after detecting quakes larger 5.0 on Richter scale as in the cases of Gyeongju and Pohang.
The KMA announced on Thursday that it would start sending out emergency disaster alerts to all citizens from Monday, in the event of an occurrence of an earthquake in the magnitude of 3.0 or more. Under the previous system, the state agency was to detect and analyze seismic activities before notifying the Ministry of Interior and Safety, which in turn would send out warning messages. The newly implemented system will help save one to five seconds by bypassing the process involving the ministry.
Currently, the minimum report time for earthquakes is categorized by the magnitude of tremors: 25 seconds for Richter 5.0 or more, 100 seconds for Richter 3.5 or more, and 5 minutes for Richter 3.0 or more. When Gyeongju was hit by a magnitude 5.0 earthquake in September 2016, it took more than 10 minutes for the citizens to get their disaster alerts, but the report time was slashed to 23 seconds after detection (26 seconds after occurrence) for the authorities to alert the people about the quake in Pohang last year. For the 2G phones, the disaster text alerts continued to be handled by the Ministry of Interior and Safety.
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