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DOST, UP to fly plane over ARMM to survey areas at high risk to disasters

/ 05:15 PM May 04, 2014

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will fly a plane over the ARMM to survey the region for hazard preparedness and to determine which areas are at risk of bearing the worst effects of disasters.

The activity is part of the DOST’s project with the University of the Philippines (UP) dubbed as the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM), a component of the Project NOAH or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards.

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“The plane will gather information on the region using a technology called LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging to produce high-resolution, detailed, and up-to-date elevation maps and data sets,” said DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro during DOST’s hazard preparedness information campaign held recently.

“The plane gets information on the area by ‘throwing’ laser over the areas it covers,” Liboro explained of the flying session to be undertaken soon.

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LiDAR is the state-of-the-art technology used to get topographic information on a certain area.

Conventional surveying such as that done by geodetic engineers using surveying and mapping equipment will take six years while a new technology called “photogrammetry” that uses planes to take pictures will take 1.5 years.

On the other hand, LiDAR can finish the same job in 6.7 seconds at 150 khz, according to Czar Jakiri Sarmiento of the DREAM-LiDAR.

The information to be gathered by the plane’s LiDAR equipment will be used to develop hazard maps showing the vulnerability of communities to certain natural hazards.

The maps will be based on flood models and, used with the Integrated Flood Early Warning System, will be able to give people and communities at least six hours notice to prepare for impending floods and other disasters.

The DREAM-LiDAR mapping plane to fly in August will start with Basilan, then Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

“Processing of information is usually done in three months so we can confidently say that we will be able to produce ARMM’s hazard map by next year,” Liboro said.

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DOST made the announcement during the department’s disaster preparedness campaign called “Science for Safer Communities: Iba na ang Panahon (Times have Changed)” participated in by mayors,  disaster risk reduction officers and other officials from BASULTA (Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) on Saturday.

Participants were trained on how to use DOST-developed hazard maps and prepare action plans in case of disasters.

According to Secretary Myrah Alih, DOST-ARMM regional secretary, there is no substitute for being prepared in doing things either personal, private or public purposes.

“Preparedness is more important than rescue as we save more lives if we are ready when disaster comes. LGUs should stress on this,” said Alih.

Liboro said the DOST has been working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in conducting the information campaign in all regions nationwide in coordination with the Office of Civil Defense.

The task of building a safe and disaster-resilient Philippines is “still a work in progress,” according to DILG-ARMM Assistant Secretary Sharifa Pearlsia Alih.  She stressed the importance of using science and technology-based tools in preparing for disasters.

To date, DOST has installed 46 sensors all over ARMM to help monitor rainfall, water level, and stream level to prepare for disasters such as flooding, earthquake, tsunami, and others.

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TAGS: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Calamity, Department of Science and Technology, disaster, Disaster preparedness, Disaster response, Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation, disaster risk assessment, disaster risk management, Disaster risk reduction, DOST, dream, hazard maps. Myrah Alih, LiDAR, light detection and ranging, National Operational Assessment of Hazards, News, Project Noah, Raymund Liboro, Regions, technology, University of the Philippines
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