BUKIDNON, 6 November 2014—The Climate Change Commission (CCC), through Project Climate Twin Phoenix, together with PAGASA, and accompanied by the contractor and LGU guides, recently concluded the inspection, testing, and commissioning of the radio-based flood forecasting and early warning systems (FFEWS) for the rivers of Cagayan De Oro and Mandulog. The FFEWS were installed in Talakag and Baungon in Bukidnon and in Rogongon in Iligan City on 27-29 October 2014.
“We cannot let another Sendong happen, which resulted in widespread damage and loss of lives”, says CCC Vice Chairperson, Secretary Lucille Sering. “The catastrophe that was Sendong demands from us better preparedness, especially at the local level, to ensure that effective adaptation and response measures are undertaken to minimize the impacts of flood-related emergencies in our communities”.
The installation of the FFEWS addresses this particular need, among others. The FFEWS monitoring network, which consists of automatic rain gauges and water level measuring stations, gathers rainfall readings and water level heights serving as inputs to flood forecasts. Forecasts are important in providing advance information on river flooding during periods of excessive rainfall, thus giving vulnerable communities access to crucial information such as timely flood warnings.
According to PAGASA Acting Administrator, Dr. Vicente Malano, “these FFEWS support existing hydromet stations earlier installed by PAGASA in both rivers”.
“The system sends real-time hydrological data via radio communication to local government authorities and such data feeds into the SMS-based disaster warning system, which in turn sends flood information alerts to the public”, Dr Malano adds.
Consistent with the science-based approach of Project Climate Twin Phoenix, the location and calibration of the FFEWS utilized the data generated by the project from modelling the four major river basins of Mandulog, Iponan, Cagayan De Oro, and Iligan. These river basin flood modelling data were used to produce the climate-adjusted flood hazard maps of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, which in turn became the basis of the flood contingency plans of the two cities.
According to Secretary Sering, “This PAGASA-led initiative completes the loop of science-based contingency planning and early warning which the (project) aims for”.
Project Climate Twin Phoenix is being implemented by the Climate Change Commission, with support from UNDP and the Australian Government. It has partnered with PAGASA and the University of the Philippines in producing the climate-adjusted flood hazard maps; with PAGASA for the FFEWS; and with local government units, as lead, together with the Office of Civil Defense Region 10 and CCC, for the preparation of their flood contingency plans.