Mayors, disaster risk reduction and city planning officers, as well as LGU consultants of the National Capital Region will gather on May 29-30 for the final leg of the “Iba Na ang Panahon (INAP):Science for Safer Communities” at the Philippine International Convention Center.

A collaboration between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Office of Civil Defense, the nationwide roadshow began in March 2014. It is designed to arm local government units (LGUs) with disaster information via science-based tools like 3D hazard maps, flood models, Project NOAH website, hazard simulation software, and mobile applications.

According to DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo, INAP “embraces the change in our seasonal climate and weather patterns and the severity of the impact of weather-related natural hazards in the country.”

In 2009, Metro Manila experienced massive floods unprecedented in scale brought about by typhoon Ondoy, inundating even the areas that are not usually flood-prone. Widespread floods occurred again in the Metro in 2012 and 2013, this time brought about monsoon rains locally known as habagat.

Likewise, destructive typhoons that hit the country from 2009 to 2013 namely Pepeng, Sendong, Pablo, and Yolanda, and the earthquake that shook Bohol only highlight the need for a more intensive disaster preparation down to the local level.

For the past three years, the government through DOST has invested in enhancing the hazards monitoring capability of the country which include installation of additional doppler radars and water level monitoring sensors, Project NOAH, and LIDAR mapping, among others.

The participants will be taught on how to use the available information and products from the said initiatives during the workshops and exercises to be conducted and use such information to identify hazards in their own localities such as fault lines, previous flood and storm surge episodes, and other calamities that affected and may still affect their communities especially in the face of climate change.

“Early warning leads to early action,” said Sec. Montejo. “If our local leaders are able to act early, then they will be able to minimize loss and lead their communities into early recovery.” (S&T Media Service)

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