Sen. Loren Legarda said that she expects improved preparedness of the government in dealing with disaster risks following the completion of Project Noah or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards.
Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and Global Champion for Resilience of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), made the statement following an update from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on the status of the Project Noah.
“The DOST said that the Project Noah has been completed and Pagasa will take over the operations aspect of the delivered outputs. If the project indeed delivered what it has promised to deliver, then the concerned agencies of government should be ready and able to translate research and information into action with measurable gains,” she said.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, also said that the government should ensure that the salaries of all scientists, researchers and personnel who were hired for the project are paid in full before the project ending date because there are reports that salaries were sometimes delayed by up to five months.
Earlier, Project Noah executive director Mahar Lagmay lamented the alleged scrapping of the program due to lack of funds. But the DOST clarified that as a research project, it has reached its end and must now be turned over to Pagasa for institutional implementation.
According to DOST secretary Fortunato dela Pe?a, Project Noah started in 2011 and most component projects were completed in 2015, but it was extended in 2016 to cover additional targets and deliverables.
Meanwhile, the extension until February 28, 2017 is for the transfer of the technologies to relevant government agencies, principally the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
“We are making headway in improving disaster preparedness in the country and the Project Noah has been helpful particularly in providing accurate information and timely warnings to our agencies and communities. The completion of the project should signal better prepared agencies in dealing with disaster risks,” said Legarda.
Project Noah is a program that uses science and technology in building capacities for disaster risk reduction and management. A website has been built to enable people to see real time updates and accurate information on weather predictions, flood forecasts, rainwater level and landslide warnings.
The project also features the Disaster Risk Exposure Assessment for Mitigation – Light Detection and Ranging or Dream-Lidar Project, which produces accurate flood inundation and 3D hazard maps for the country’s flood-prone and major river systems and watersheds, and also identifies landslide-prone areas.
Other components of the project are the Distribution of Hydrometeorological Devices in hard-hit areas in the Philippines (Hydromet), Coastal Hazards and Storm Surge Assessment and Mitigation (Chassam), Flood Information Network (FloodNET) Project, Local Development of Doppler Radar Systems (LaDDeRS), Landslide Sensors Development Project, and Weather Hazard Information Project (WHIP).