Pinoy-made tsunami detection system to be installed in Subic

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The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is preparing for the installation of locally developed tsunami detection system at Sueste Point in Subic Bay within the territorial jurisdiction of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

The initiative is part of the initiative of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) called ?Establishment of a Cost-effective Local Tsunami Early Warning System for Selected High-risk Coastal Communities of the Philippines?, or TeWS, which is under the DOST-Grant-in-Aid (DOST-GIA) Project.

The Subic Bay tsunami detection sensors is TeWS?s next and final target for this phase under DOST-GIA following the placement of tsunami warning sirens in Mabacong and Sta. Rita Aplaya, the two pilot barangays for Batangas City last February 2013.

The tsunami detection equipment is composed of a platform with a pole to which different sensors are attached: the ultrasonic tide sensor which notes the rise and fall of the sea level, dry sensor which determines whether water has receded immediately after a large earthquake thus indicating a very high possibility of tsunami occurrence, and wet sensors installed at heights of 1m, 5m, and 8 or 10m, which detect if tsunami water has already hit the pole.

The sensors at the tsunami detection site communicate all signals to alerting sirens using GSM-communication developed by ASTI. Experts from both Phivolcs and ASTI designed the sensors and the whole system.

Previously, Phivolcs and ASTI had installed tsunami detection sensors in Bolinao, Pangasinan for the Lingayen Gulf with five pilot alerting sirens in Barangays Pugaro, Gueset, Binloc in Dagupan City, in the Poblacion of Lingayen, Pangasinan and in the Poblacion of Bolinao, Pangasinan;in Rapu Rapu for the Albay Gulf with five sirens installed in Barangays San Roque, Bonot, Puro, and Rawis in Legazpi City and in the Poblacion of Rapu Rapu; and in Corregidor and Lubang Island for both Batangas Bay and Manila Bay clusters. The Rapu Rapu Polymetallic Project, a mining company in Rapu Rapu island, is planning to donate similar alerting stations for their neighboring barangays in Rapu Rapu.

Under the TeWS project, each cluster will have one tsunami detection system as well as alerting stations or warning sirens for five pilot communities.

In the case of Subic Bay, alerting sirens had already been put in place and are now operational in the Municipality of Subic, City of Olongapo, and SBMA.

The five pilot communities for each cluster will be the model barangays for other neighboring coastal communities to have similar warning system, or alerting sirens at the least, coupled with their respective evacuation plans prepared by them.

?We have a grand plan for the tsunami monitoring system of the Philippines,? said Phivolcs Director Renato U. Solidum Jr. ?Under this project, we?re also testing a new type of low-power radio and we?re also putting tsunami tide gauges. This will enable us to have a more robust backup communication system via radio.?

?We will test these in five other areas. We had tested this in Corregidor but we will move it because we already have our own sensor there,? Solidum added.

Meanwhile, the group continues to train communities within the various TeWS cluster areas on understanding tsunami warning signals, and how to prepare for and implement evacuation, such as the two-day capacity building activity conducted by Phivolcs and ASTI for Mabacong and Sta. Rita Aplaya in Batangas City last February.

?In the next few years, we will also put up additional tsunami tide gauges in real time via satellite in various parts of the country,? the Phivolcs director said.

A few weeks ago, Phivolcs and the Japan International Cooperation Agency launched two comics materials and a video featuring Filipino residents in Japan who experienced the earthquake and tsunami which hit the country in March 2011.

The materials will be distributed among schools in the country?s eastern shoreline in a bid to raise awareness on earthquakes and tsunamis and promote disaster preparedness. — DOST-STII

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