Filipinos to receive disaster warnings on cellphones under new law

The Philippines has passed a law that requires mobile phone companies to send early warnings of impending disasters to millions of people who are vulnerable to deadly typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

The Free Mobile Disaster Act was signed by President Benigno Aquino III on Friday. It directs mobile phone operators to send out alerts about storms, tsunamis or other calamities whenever required by national disaster agencies.

Similar early warning systems are in place in several other countries, including Japan.

The Philippines is in the path of about 20 typhoons a year in a region that generates some of the world's strongest tropical cyclones. Hundreds or more die every year as a result.

It is also in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire where volcanic activities and earthquakes are common.