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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                           MEDIA INQUIRIES:

  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357

 

USTDA GRANT SUPPORTS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A

NATIONAL EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY IN INDONESIA

 

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – (September 15, 2006) Developing an effective strategy to communicate critical emergency information on impending natural disasters is the objective of a USTDA grant awarded today to Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysics Agency.  The $391,000 grant to Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika (BMG) will be used to provide technical assistance to BMG in formulating a national strategy and identifying technology options for rapid notification of emergency information during hazardous events.

 

Mr. John A. Heffern, Chargé d’ Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, and Ms. Sri Woro Harijono, BMG Director, signed an agreement to confer the grant in a ceremony held at the U.S. Commercial Center in Jakarta.  “This agreement demonstrates the sustained U.S. government commitment to both develop a comprehensive tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean and aid Indonesia in its recovery from the 2004 tsunami and subsequent disasters,” stated Mr. Heffern at the signing ceremony.

 

Of the countries affected by the December 2004 tsunami, Indonesia sustained the greatest damage, both in terms of the number of fatalities and loss of property.  Thus far in 2006, the country has experienced five major earthquakes, one of which created a tsunami that caused over 600 deaths and displaced thousands in southern Java.  Efforts to establish a communications system to warn about future dangers face significant challenges, as Indonesia’s large population is spread over a vast archipelago located in one of the world’s most active areas for seismic activity.

 

The project that today’s grant supports involves aspects of ensuring reliable communications between BMG and Bakornas (the national disaster management agency), and linking the national operations center in Jakarta with the eight planned regional operations centers.  The project will also entail establishing a system to notify and maintain communications with first responders and local authorities, providing mobile communications capability for emergency personnel if public communications solutions fail, and providing automated control of coastal warning sirens in high-risk zones.

 

The grant awarded today follows a $650,000 grant that USTDA provided to BMG in 2005 for technical assistance for systems integration and command and control procedures at BMG’s national operations center.  Altogether, USTDA has provided over $7.7 million for 19 projects related to tsunami reconstruction efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.  The projects supported by USTDA are in the emergency communications, energy, transportation and environmental sectors. 

 

The opportunity to provide the technical assistance to BMG under the grant awarded today will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fedbizopps.gov.  Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement.  BMG will select the U.S. contractor that will provide the technical assistance.

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

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