New project inspired by Israel's 'Red Alert' helps keep Ukrainians updated

The system, Ukraine Siren Alerts or UASA, is currently operating on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram.

Rocket siren system in Israel (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/KFIR)
Rocket siren system in Israel
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/KFIR)

A new project inspired by Israel's Red Alert warning system is helping Ukrainians and people outside Ukraine stay updated on air raid alerts as they're activated during Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The project, Ukraine Siren Alerts or UASA, is currently operating on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram.

Boaz Moerdler, creator and head of the project, stated that he was first inspired to start it because of his girlfriend, who is from Ukraine. While the two were discussing her family's situation in Ukraine, they realized that there is no efficient and accessible way to alert people both inside and outside of the country regarding air raid sirens being activated there.

The current system being used in Ukraine is area specific and location locked, meaning people who have family members in Ukraine or who live there and have loved ones who live in other areas of the country will not be able to see if a siren is sounding, but will instead have to wait for mainstream media to report on it. There is a Ukrainian mobile app available for siren alerts, but it is currently only available in Ukrainian.

 People take cover as an air-raid siren sounds, near an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. (credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS) People take cover as an air-raid siren sounds, near an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. (credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)

In Israel, rocket and air raid alerts show up publicly both on official and unofficial apps and channels, including alerts that pop up on TV and multiple mobile applications, meaning that anyone can see where alerts are being activated the moment they happen. Moerdler took inspiration from this system and decided to build a similar one for Ukraine.

The new system, which had nearly 5,000 followers on Twitter at the time of writing, works by using data taken directly from municipalities who broadcast alerts via Telegram or their own websites. It then posts these alerts on its social media platforms. The system will soon also have a website, where users can subscribe for notifications for their region and be texted or emailed when an alert is activated.

Interactive maps will also be made available so that users can see where recent alerts have been sounded.

Moerdler stated that he has heard many stories of how UASA has helped people stay in touch with their families and helped people on the ground get an idea of which locations are under threat.

It has been about 20 days since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, with thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers and Russian soldiers estimated to have been killed and injured in the fighting throughout the country.