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Aquino launches antidisaster program Project Noah


01:22 AM July 7th, 2012

By: Norman Bordadora, July 7th, 2012 01:22 AM

NOAH DOESN’T HAVE TO BUILD AN ARK. Using a laptop, President Aquino launches Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards). With the President are Science Secretary Mario Montejo (left) and Project Noah director Dr. Mahar Lagmay (right). LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines—This Noah doesn’t need to build an ark to save Filipinos from floods. All it needs is for people to access its website.

After launching Project Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) on Friday, President Benigno Aquino III declared that the days of uncertainty in the face of severe weather would now be a thing of the past with the real-time warnings and information that Project Noah provides.

“Project Noah would serve as the Philippines’ ark against deluge. We would put an end to the ordeal that people have been accustomed to in rainy weather. Hindi na puwede ang ‘bahala na,’ sawa na tayo sa kaba,” the President said.

“With accurate and enough information, we would gear Filipinos toward sufficient readiness,” he added.

Project Noah’s launch was held in Marikina City—one of the worst hit by floods when Tropical Storm “Ondoy” dumped an unusually heavy volume of rain on Metro Manila in September 2009.

Also to warn of geohazards

Aside from providing on-time warnings on severe weather from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Project Noah will also issue warnings related to geohazards from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

“If you check the website of Project Noah… you’d be impressed at the convenience brought by technology. Just type your location, you’d already know the weather condition, how heavy the rain would be in your area,” President Aquino said.

“We no longer have to ask for information. We no longer have to wait for the news. Anytime, we can get in and be informed,” he added.

Project Noah will benefit from the weather monitoring equipment that the government has installed in the past years. These include rain gauges, flood-monitoring units and Doppler radars—those that measure the amount of rain that would fall in a certain area.

Automated rain gauges

“When we started our administration, we gave attention to the problems brought by storms. Among those that we pursued was to improve and add to our equipment,” President Aquino said.

In addition to the four locally assembled water level monitoring sensors already in place when he assumed office, Mr. Aquino said the government installed nine in 2011 and 12 in 2012. “And 2012 is still not over,” he said.

President Aquino also said that 100 automated rain gauges were assembled in 2011 and 86 in 2012. These were deployed to different regions in the country, he added.

“Since 2010, there are now six operational Doppler radars in Baguio, Subic, Tagaytay, Virac, Mactan, and Hinatuan,” he said.

“We also expect three additional Doppler weather radars to be operational in Tampakan, Aparri and Baler before the end of 2012,” he added.

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