Philippines upgrades its disaster mitigating technology

The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) is adopting the disaster mitigating technology called InaSAFE from Indonesia. InaSAFE is an acronym for Indonesia Scenario Assessment for Emergency. It is an open source technology, which means it is free, readily accessed from the internet and may be modified by users. With this technology, data coming from weather scientists, local government units and the communities are gathered and consolidated to provide accurate information on future disaster events.

NOAH adopted Indonesis’s InaSAFE as it has a lot in common with the Philippines, especially in topography and natural hazards.

This was disclosed during the multi-stakeholder assembly titled “Enhancing Community Resilience Through the Use of New Technology” conducted by Project NOAH recently held at the Oracle Hotel in Quezon City.

Abigail Baca, disaster and risk management officer of the World Bank East Asia and Pacific Region said that InaSAFE proved effective during the recent floods in Jakarta, Indonesia and it can be applied in the Philippines.

Dr. Alfredo Francisco Mahar Lagmay of Project NOAH disclosed that InaSAFE will be integrated into Project NOAH to supplement existing technologies used to mitigate, if not totally prevent, massive destruction caused by strong typhoons similar to Sendong in 2011 and Pablo in December 2012.

During his presentation, Dr. Lagmay said, “It is important to develop information tools that will help centralise risk information at the NOAH website and make them available to a wider community.”

Since its launch in July 2012 in Marikina City, Project NOAH has continuously upgraded and strengthened its capability through installation of various weather forecasting equipment in various disaster-prone areas in the country. Among these are the Hydromet water level sensors and Doppler radars used to measure amount of rainfall in a specific area.

To date, there are 525 Hydromet sensors installed in different river systems including those in Tullahan River, Marikina River and San Juan River in Metro Manila. Likewise, the Project NOAH team has put up billboards in Pampanga showing flood maps to inform residents of the high-risk areas in their communities.

Further, Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, project leader of NOAH’s DREAM LiDAR (Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation-Light Detection and Ranging) said, “ Since November 2012, we were able to do three-dimensional or 3D mapping of the Pampanga river basin, Agno River, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. By the end of May this year, 3D mapping for Iloilo will be complete and next in line is the Panay river basin.”

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