Storm surge and flood advisory systems will be included in the comprehensive disaster preparedness plan being drawn up by the Cabinet, a Palace statement said.
President Benigno Aquino III had directed the creation of a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan that will be adopted this June, in time for the rainy season.
Proposed to be part of this plan are Storm Surge Advisories (SSAs), to be given 48 hours in advance, with numerical figures assigned to a certain storm surge height range or level:
- SSA No. 1: a storm surge height of up to two meters
- SSA No. 2: up to five meters
- SSA No. 3: more than five meters
Also proposed is a flood advisory (FA) system using a similar numerical system:
- FA No. 1: up to 129 mm rainfall within the next 24 hours
- FA No. 2: up to 190 mm rainfall
- FA No. 3: up to 240 mm rainfall
Results of various simulation studies on storm surges, floods, and landslides were also presented by Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and Project NOAH Executive Director Mahar Lagmay during the Cabinet meeting. Data from the last 50 years were used to project future trends.
They were also able to identify a larger number of relatively landslide-safe areas using high-resolution mapping.
Highly vulnerable, heavily populated areas like Manila are priority areas of focus in the disaster preparedness road map to be implemented in June. Another priority concern is knowledge in restarting the economy after a major disaster.
The Cabinet task group included the secretaries of the Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, 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.
Surigao del Norte evacuation
Exemplifying a situation with in which SSAs and FAs would have been helpful, officials of Surigao del Norte implemented a forced evacuation along coastal areas on Friday as Tropical Storm Basyang made landfall over the Siargao Islands.
Evacuations were also carried out in flood and landslide prone areas, according to a report on GMA 7’s “24 Oras”.
All local government agencies including the Philippine National Police, emergency response teams and local disaster risk management councils were at full alert, the report said.
An initial set of relief goods amounting to 100 sacks of rice and 50 cartons of noodles have been distributed to various evacuation sites.
For its part, the Philippine Coast Guard canceled sea travel for ships and ferries from Surigao’s Lipata port.
Neighboring Tacloban City had also carried out a forced evacuation earlier to prevent casualties, with at least 2,000 refugees now in 9 evacuation sites.
Basyang is expected to make landfall over the Southern Leyte-northern tip of Surigao del Norte area late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
This article was retrieved from GMA News online on January 31, 2014.