Authorities said on Dec. 29 that beginning in 2023, residents of seismically vulnerable areas will receive text message alerts about seismic activity, Mexico News Daily reported.

The National Coordination of Civil Protection (CNPC) has been developing the technology for the new alert system since 2019, according to Laura Velázquez Alzá, the organization's director, who spoke during President López Obrador's morning press conference.

It expands on an existing system that notifies people living in Mexico City and other central areas of earthquakes that occur on the country's west coast, which is the area with the highest seismic activity. Since radio waves move more quickly than seismic waves, people of Mexico City may have about 40 seconds to get ready before an earthquake, which might save lives.

“Warnings are received through radio receivers here in Mexico City with C5 loudspeakers, which is also the most useful because it alerts the largest number of people,” Velázquez said. “Since 1993, alerts are also made via commercial AM and FM radio and television, and by 2023 it will be through cell phones.”

Additionally, Velázquez declared that the alarm system would be expanded to include the state of Colima between 2023 and 2024.

Along with Baja California, Jalisco, Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, Colima is one of seven states that the CNPC considers to be at high seismic risk. The risk level is deemed to be medium in Veracruz, Sonora, Baja California Sur, Nayarit, Mexico City, Puebla, Mexico State, Tlaxcala, Tabasco, and Morelos.

It was also noted by Velázquez that there are no urgent plans to expand the system to other parts of the country, particularly in areas where earthquakes are rare.

“It is completely out of technical consideration to have an alert throughout the country, especially because of the seismic risk in the northwest of the country, which is very low,” she said. “We have to focus on the high-risk areas.”

The Mexican government implemented a number of risk-reduction strategies in the wake of the devastating earthquake in September 1985, including the Mexican Seismic Alert System (SASMEX). It picked up more than 10,500 earthquakes between 1991 and 2022, of which 171 were significant enough to trigger seismic alert signals.

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