Android Disaster Alert Failed During Turkey Earthquake

by Jerry

Feature launched in 2021 may be key in the first seconds of a disaster, but notifications failed in the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria in February

The disaster alert system for Android smartphones failed to notify its users during the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which happened in February this year. According to the survivors of the tragedy, the warnings were only sent during the aftershocks. Android handsets account for 80% of mobile phones in Turkey.

So, with all this market share, the reach of Android’s earthquake detection tool is important to help in situations of natural tragedies. Of course, government measures also influence safety measures during a quake, but reports of mismanagement and the absence of alarm systems (as there are in Japan) make the population more dependent on Google’s resource.

Android promises warnings up to 1 minute before earthquake
Google promises that its earthquake warning system notifies users up to 1 minute before tremors. With this, there is time for users to protect themselves, following the recommendations, or leave their homes so as not to run the risk of being a victim of a collapse.

In response to the BBC, Google said its notifications were sent to users. Micah Berman, the product lead responsible for the system, believes people were distracted and didn’t see the notification in time. However, the victims interviewed by the BBC said they only received the warning of the second quake.

The British outlet interviewed residents of the towns of Adana, Osmaniye and Iskenderun. The first is 150 km away from the epicenter and, in theory, would receive a warning in time.

You can’t wait when an earthquake will happen. However, an alert system seeks to detect the waves of an earthquake and send the warning to the residents of a region, taking advantage of the fact that the speed of the internet is higher than the time of the tremors begin. The farther away from the epicenter, the longer it takes to react.

Of the three cities visited, Adana would have the most time to receive notifications of the first quake. However, it only received from the second and the aftershocks, a kind of “rebound” of the main earthquake.

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