DOST to provide high resolution maps of disaster-prone areas PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 May 2014 14:03

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is committed on providing scientific data such as high resolution weather maps, flood models and satellite images to further boost the capability of the Philippine communities to prepare for natural calamities.

As the country grapples with the increasing number of natural hazards such as floods, landslides and typhoons, people must gain awareness on the impact of these calamities on their lives and communities.

“The public can better understand the effect of natural disasters through visual communication,” DOST Project Noah Executive Director Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay said in a press briefing during the launching of the “Yolanda” Rehabilitation Scientific Information Center held at the University of the Philippines National Engineering Center in Diliman, Quezon City on Saturday.

“People must be made aware of the different kinds of natural hazards so that they can be able to understand their impact,” according to Lagmay.

A major component of the Project NOAH is the DREAM (Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation) Program which intends to generate high resolution flood maps and flood models in the country.

“The program seeks to map out topographic features of rivers, valleys and mountains, among others. We can determine, for instance, the level of flooding in a certain municipality and what particular areas will be impacted by this natural hazard,” Enrico Paringit, DOST-Dream Program manager said in an interview.

“The maps can identify exactly the location of houses and other buildings that are near hazard zones because they are highly detailed,” he added.

The Dream Program has already completed the hazard mapping of 18 major river basins in the country.

For its next phase, the program intends to map out 285 river basins nationwide, of which 31 are located along the typhoon “Yolanda”-affected areas. This phase is expected to be concluded by 2016.

The maps can also be utilized for other purposes such as infrastructure planning, environmental monitoring, fault line mapping, forest inventory, archaelogical surveys and agricultural assessment.

Through these scientific-based data, local government units can implement immediate evacuation of their constituents in cases of disaster and may identify sites that are safer for relocation.

“We hope that local government units and community leaders will be able to take action on mitigating the impact of disasters as we can continue to provide them resources to strengthen their capabilities,” according to Dr. Lagmay.

The DOST, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has launched an information center that will provide scientific tools to national government agencies, local government units and relief agencies in support of ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the “Yolanda”-affected areas.

The facility known as the Yolanda Rehabilitation Scientific Information Center (YoRInfoCenter) will serve as a one-stop shop wherein government agencies and private organizations will be given access to latest satellite images and high resolution hazard maps that can be utilized for the rehabilitation efforts in typhoon-stricken areas.

“We are providing data like the latest satellite imageries and high resolution maps for Yolanda-affected areas,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said.

“We are also providing multihazard maps on floods and areas that could be prone to landslides and storm surges. On top of that, we have experts that could be consulted on these datasets,” he added.

The YoRInfoCenter will be housed at the UP National Engineering Center where it will be manned by experts from the DOST Project NOAH and its DREAM program and the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau.