Davao Oriental province in Region 11 is one of the next priority areas for 3D flood mapping via the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) and UP’s DREAM-LiDAR program which seeks to generate detailed flood hazard maps and inundation models for early weather information.

Mapping will start in August 2014 and may be completed by September, according to Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, program leader of DREAM which stands for Disaster Risk Exposure Assessment for Mitigation.

Paringit shared this development during the recent Region 11 leg of DOST’s Iba Na ang Panahon (INAP): Science for Safer Communities information campaign held at the Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City recently and attended by local officials and disaster risk reduction managers.

“We realized that these areas really need a lot of attention in terms of trying to update the current set of hazard information that we have,” revealed Paringit. “Because we thought it’s no longer about landslides. It’s not just a matter of saying how resilient your house is against strong winds; it also matters where the house or the structure is located.”

He related that when Davao Oriental was hit by typhoon Pablo in 2012, the major concerns were the strong winds and landslides. However, when typhoon Agaton slammed the province in January 2014, flooding became the main problem. Boston, Baganga, and Cateel municipalities experienced massive flooding leaving some residents homeless. In fact, houses that survived Pablo did not escape the wrath of Agaton this time.

“Ironically, it led to two things. One, those that were previously identified to be safe areas or resettlements, were hit by the flooding. Second, infrastructure which were built to rehabilitate these areas after Pablo, such as the bridges, were also damaged,” Paringit said.

In addition, the changing topography of Davao Oriental which will eventually affect other communities, needs finer-scale topographic mapping using LiDAR technology. This change in topography happened in the aftermath of Pablo as landslide materials coursed through the river systems as additional debris, thus causing the water to find other routes.

Paringit also added that finer-scale mapping will produce hazard information that will be useful for setting parameters of building design that can better withstand fierce calamities like Yolanda and Agaton.

“If you’re data limited, you’re also process limited. But if you’re data rich, you’re also process rich,” Paringit stressed.

INAP, a nationwide campaign, is a collaboration between DOST, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Office of Civil Defense. The Region 11 leg gathered regional provinces as well as two provinces from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Aside from local officials and DRRMs, INAP Region 11 was also attended by member agencies from the academic and private sectors. (S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)

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