Government considering use of new public warning signals for storm surges, floods (PIA)

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, February 2 (PIA) – The Aquino Administration is considering the use of new public warning signals for storm surges and floods in order to give the country a good chance in its fight against climate change.

Secretary Sonny Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, a storm surge advisory (SSA) and flood Advisory system were proposed by  Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and “Project Noah” Executive Director Mahar Lagmay at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The two officials made the proposal after presenting to President Benigno Aquino III and Cabinet members the results of various simulation studies on storm surges, floods and landslides, using data for the last 50 years to project future trends, Secretary Coloma said.

If the protocol is adopted, SSA No. 1 would indicate a storm surge height of up to two meters; SSA No. 2, up to five meters; and SSA No. 3, more than five meters.

Unlike public weather warning signals, which are updated in 24 hours, a storm surge advisory will be given 48 hours in advance.

According to Secretary Coloma, the storm surge disaster risk reduction efforts are geared at achieving the reduction of exposure in the coastal areas by implementing “no-build” zones, development of natural barriers and construction of man-made barriers to reduce impact of hazard, and resiliency of home, building and other infrastructure.

He added that also proposed at the Cabinet meeting was the adoption of a flood advisory (FA) system where FA No. 1 refers to rainfall up to 129 mm within the next 24 hours; FA No. 2, up to 190 mm rainfall; and FA No. 3, up to 240 mm rainfall.

The new advisory systems for storm surges and floods are part of a disaster preparedness road map that the President wants adopted before the onset of the rainy season in June.

The Cabinet task group in charge over the road map will be composed of the secretaries of the Department of National Defense (DND), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Climate Change Commission, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Priority areas of focus are highly vulnerable high-population areas such as the National Capital Region.  How to restart the economy after a major disaster is another priority concern, said Coloma.

Besides improvement of government’s disaster preparedness capability, the President and the Cabinet discussed updates on rehabilitation of areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” (PIA 8)

This article was originally published in the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) news website on February 2, 2014. 

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