LGUs urged to make use of DOST weather systems

PIA Press Release Monday, June 20, 2011

LGUs urged to make use of DOST weather systems

by Elsa S. Subong

ILOILO CITY, June 20 (PIA) -- The local government units in the region should avail of the weather systems and equipment devised by the Department of Science and Technology-6.

DOST Director Rowen Gelonga in a broadcast interview said they are inviting LGUs to consult with the agency technical experts as to how they can use the systems to help them analyze weather situations in their communities.

Gelonga said they have recently developed a seismic hazard simulation software that produces hazard and risk maps immediately after the occurrence of a strong and potentially damaging earthquake.

Gelonga said this software called REDAS or Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System determines possible damage in an LGU, consequently helping them and the other sectors, to plan how to mitigate them.

Ryan Dumpit, member of the DOST Management Team, said in the same interview, that so far with REDAS, they have undertaken survey of about 1,250 structures in Iloilo City, which maybe a small percentage, but had yielded a picture of the vulnerability of the city.

Dumpit said the survey showed that for a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hitting Iloilo City, 15 per cent of the concrete buildings two-storey high, 10 per cent of those three to seven storey buildings, and 12 per cent of concrete-wood structures, will suffer total collapse.

Based on the above data Dumpit said there will be an estimated 2,400 fatalities.

As the REDAS can plot projected data such as the above, the LGUs can benefit and will be guided in their preparedness plans.

Gelonga said the software is unique, the first of its kind outside Metro Manila, as designed by a team of Filipino and Australian scientists.

“The software is low-cost and can be distributed to those interested, and DOST will give to LGUs for their disaster preparedness planning,” Gelonga said.

He added the software is not just for earthquake but multi-hazard, that can determine occurrence of tsunami, liquefaction and flooding.

Meanwhile DOST said it has also installed automatic water level sensors in Pavia, Cabatuan and Iloilo, City, at the mouth of rivers, to determine depth of waters in these rivers, so that the community can be alerted in case of increase in levels.

Gelonga said through these water sensors, levels of water can be projected in different rivers and how the data can be related with other rivers, hence, a community likely to be affected, can prepare.

Likewise, Gelonga said through a Memorandum with the Department of Agriculture, they will be installing the Iloilo Synoptic Station, which will be operationalized in a month.

There are also automatic rain gauges and automatic weather stations accessible to selected LGUs as rainfall has become a factor in disaster preparedness.

“We now have seemingly localized rainfall, different in other areas, therefore, different reading, so the average is taken,” Gelonga said.

He also said that LGUs now have to be keen on rainfall data, like heavy, moderate or light rains, as a 10-20 mm per hour heavy rainfall, especially continuous, a community should already prepare, whether there will be flooding or not.

In urging LGUs to avail and use of these software and weather systems, Gelonga said DOST, Phivolcs, Office of Civil Defense and other experts are conducting training for them, so they can also train others. (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

Cabatuan.com - Timeline 2011