Foreign Ministry launches emergency text messages

As the risks for Slovak citizens have been on the rise – be it natural disasters, or terrorist attacks – it is crucial to timely contact people who are at the site of a disaster, said the minister.

(Source: AP/SITA)

The Slovak Foreign Ministry launched the service of emergency short-text message service for travelers abroad. Together with all four mobile operators (Slovak Telekom, Orange Slovensko, O2 and Swan Mobile), it has launched a new service available since January 1.

As the risks for Slovak citizens have been on the rise – be it natural disasters, or terrorist attacks – it is crucial to timely contact people who are at the site of a disaster, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák told the TASR newswire.

This function will be fulfilled by the emergency short-text message, whose text will be worded by the ministry and delivered by Slovak operators. For Slovaks abroad to receive it, it is important to have roaming, a Slovak SIM-card and the mobile phone switched on. Lajčák added that he hopes the service will be used as little as possible, as it is meant only for emergency situations.

Already earlier, the ministry had introduced the mobile app Svetobežka / Globetrotter with practical data for citizens who are abroad, as well as a registration form and a welcoming text message.

Unlike the welcoming text message which is sent to all, the emergency message will be only delivered to those who are located in a disaster area.

CEO of Orange Slovensko, Pavol Lančarič, added that as soon as the ministry determines the actual situation, it will offer the text in which operators will not interfere.

“As soon as we get information about a problem in the due country, we select people who are logged in with one of the local networks, and we send a text message to all of them,” he explained.

This solves a fundamental problem of the Foreign Ministry, minister Lajčák said: “Each time a crisis situation emerges, we try to find out how many of our citizens are involved. On the other hand, mobile operators know how many of their clients logged in with roaming with their foreign partners. We do not have to try find out how many Slovaks are there, and we are able to contact them directly and swiftly.”

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