MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian telecoms ministry is preparing to make mobile operators responsible for urgently informing their customers of emergency situations, Russia’s Izvestia daily said on Monday.
The issue of alerting the population about potential threats came into spotlight after the deadly 2012 floods in South Russia, which left more than a hundred of people dead. Regional emergency officials, who had at least three hours advance knowledge of the impending disaster, said they had broadcast flood warnings on local TV and radio, despite the fact that torrential rains had cut power to much of the area.
The paper quotes a working document from the ministry as saying that “the possibility of making providers of telecommunications services responsible for transmitting emergency alerts on a free and compulsory basis” should be studied and this duty should be included into the companies’ licenses.
The ministry expects the proposals to be ready by the end of this year, Izvestia said.
Spokesmen for Russia’s top mobile operators – Anna Aibasheva of VimpelCom and Dmitry Solodovnikov of MTS – told the paper that their companies are already voluntarily cooperating with Russia’s emergencies service in alerting customers about disasters and other threats.