Project NOAH completes storm surge simulations (Manila Bulletin)

Manila, Philippines – Project NOAH has ran 4,000 storm surge simulations that can help local government units mitigate the effects of possible disasters, according to one of the officials leading the program undertaken by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Dr. Mahar Lagmay, executive director of Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), said, “We have already ran over 4,000 storm surge simulations nationwide, with the wind speed or strength of Yolanda as the baseline.”

Data gathered from the simulations will be released soon to local governments and other disaster-responders, Lagmay said in an interview.

He said NOAH’s disaster risk mitigation and prevention efforts have to be matched with action from the government, particularly LGUs and other disaster responders.

“While science provides reliable information, it should be matched with action from responsible agencies and people,” he said.

“There are two important things to consider, warning based on knowledge (storm surge flood maps) and action from LGUs,” he said.

Lagmay said the study will identify the areas at risks from storm surge from a Yolanda-strength typhoon around the country, and also the safe zones where affected people can run for safety.

Storm surge warnings were issued before Yolanda hits Eastern Samar, but people may have evacuated to areas still at risk because there still was no reliable storm surge flood maps.

He said this should change after Project NOAH has completed the storm surge flood maps “to prevent the loss of lives.”

The storm surge simulations were conducted in November and December of 2013.

This article was originally published in Manila Bulletin on 2 January 2014.

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