Written by S&T Media Service
THE leaders of Marikina City on Thursday praised the government project on disaster prevention and mitigation, and the weather bureau for the zero fatality and efficient rescue-and-relief operations in the city in the midst of Typhoon Maring.
Mayor Del de Guzman and Rep. Miro Quimbo attributed the timely, accurate and effective response of the local government unit (LGU) to the onslaught of Typhoon Maring to the precise warnings, substantial information and ample lead time provided by Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Noah) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Project Noah is a program of the national government as a response to the strict orders of President Aquino to put in place a responsive program for disaster risk reduction and mitigation that will provide lead-time warning to vulnerable communities against impending floods.
The project harnesses technologies and management services offered by the DOST through its agencies such as Pagasa, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and Advanced Science and Technology Institute, in partnership with the University of the Philippines (UP) National Institute of Geological Sciences and the UP College of Engineering.
“Marikina receives the brunt of rains and floodwaters from San Mateo, Antipolo and Montalban, which inundate us in such a speed that often result in fatalities and massive economic losses. In times of typhoons, the people and local officials essentially operate blindly in the absence of information on the amount of rainfall and estimated time of impact. We are either caught off-guard, which results in deaths and destruction of property like what happened with Typhoon Ondoy; or we overreact and conduct massive evacuation, which unnecessarily depletes the city’s resources and economically dislocates people,” Quimbo said.
But the Marikina solon said this has changed when the national government provided the LGUs with a potent tool to adjust and cope with typhoons through Project Noah and Pagasa.
Through Project Noah, relocation of families in flood-prone areas has also become more efficient and systematic. It gives the officials and residents between three to six hours lead time to carry out an orderly evacuation.
De Guzman said, “There are no recorded casualties as of now in Marikina. We are not yet claiming victory, but we are hopeful that with this new tool given by the national government through Pagasa, we will survive this calamity without casualties.”
The city was able to accomplish its target of zero casualty in the face of the habagat (monsoon rains) in August 2012, which the city government credit to Project Noah.
The Marikina leaders also highlighted the benefits of a dynamic synergy between the national government and the LGUs. De Guzman and Quimbo said the national government and the LGUs had a shared vision of disaster prevention and mitigation, and this was realized when the President gave the local officials a potent tool through Project Noah.
“Disaster risk-reduction management will only be effective if you have proper tools and programs like Project Noah. Projects like these are worthy investments, as they give us the informations that are required in order to properly address the immediate needs of people during typhoons. In effect, the government can act more efficiently,” Quimbo said.
Project Noah was launched by the President last year in Balubad, Nangka, the most vulnerable area in Marikina.