DOST undertakes flood prevention and mitigation project
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology has started groundwork on an ambitious flood monitoring and prevention program that aims to save lives and property by speeding up the delivery of accurate forecast and warning to communities.
Science Secretary Mario Montejo announced this week that the government has initiated an inter-agency National Flood Forecasting, Monitoring and Mitigation program this year to prevent the scale of devastation seen in the wake powerful storms in 2011.
“The National Flood Monitoring Program is government’s commitment toward a more effective and efficient disaster mitigation and monitoring system. Too many lives have already been lost, and it is high time for science to step up to the plate and save lives this time around,” Montejo said in a statement.
The program, designed to be completed in at least two years, takes a multi-pronged approach to flood control and prevention, said DOST spokesman Mon Liboro in an interview.
For one, DOST will work with other agencies to install water level sensors and automatic rain gauges in up to 17 major river systems across the country, replicating a river monitoring and warning system that has been in place at the Marikina River, Liboro said.
By design, the system aims to give early warning – at least six hours – to riverside communities in case evacuation is deemed necessary based on the forecast. DOST aims to finish the installation of sensors within the year.
Just as critical is a three-dimensional mapping of the entire archipelago, a two-year endeavor called DREAM (Disaster Risk Exposure, Assessment and Mitigation).
DREAM’s 3D map will chart the country’s topography and waterways for use in simulating – thus, forecasting – possible flood scenarios.
“They’re saying the scale is such that you could already see the door of a house,” Liboro said.
Montejo recently met with top officials of the social welfare, interior and local government, justice, environment and public works departments to discuss how to push ahead with the program.
DOST initiated the program on a directive from President Benigno Aquino III “to step up national efforts toward greater and more intensive disaster risk reduction and management procedures in the wake of Storm Sendong.”
“Disaster preparedness will entail a team effort, so that together we will be able to achieve goals and end-results mutually beneficial for all,” Montejo said.
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