Philippine gov’t firms up disaster Roadmap
by FFE PH News Staff
In the event of storms in the Philippines, weather bureaus and news channels normally give the public information on storm signals, rainfall amount and suspension of classes. But with the government’s new initiative to boost disaster preparedness after typhoon Yolanda struck the country, information on storm surge and floods will also soon be made public on a regular basis.
Malacañang revealed that President Aquino has just ordered the Cabinet to create a disaster response plan that should be ready before the rainy season in June.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said ‘The president directed the Cabinet to submit a disaster preparedness and risk reduction roadmap that will be formally adopted for implementation before the rainy season.
‘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.’
The secretaries and departments assigned to make this are:
- Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin
- Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas
- Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo
- Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson
- Environment Secretary Ramon Paje
- Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo
- National Climate Change Commission
A storm surge advisory (SSA) has also been discussed in the Cabinet meeting. Coloma said the Cabinet came up with the following warning levels:
- SSA 1: storm surge height of 2 metres
- SSA 2: height of 5 metres
- SSA 3: more than 5 metres
These advisories are to be relayed to the public 48 hours in advance.
The SSA has been based on Project NOAH’s findings on simulation studies of storm surges, floods and landslides which include information on a 50-year period. Coloma said the SSA could be used to implement no-build zones in vulnerable coastal areas and in the construction of man-made sea barriers against storm surges.
The government is also eyeing the implementation of a flood advisory (FA) system that includes the following warning levels:
- FA 1: up to 129mm rainfall within the next 24 hours
- FA 2: up to 190mm rainfall
- FA 3: up to 240mm rainfall
This is the second time the president met with the Cabinet for disaster preparations this year. The first was in 9 January to discuss the realignment of the 2014 budget for post-Yolanda rehabilitation in the affected areas.