Albay guv reiterates call for weather warning system to prevent catastrophes

October 1, 2009 10:18 pm 

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct.2 — Albay Gov. Joey Salceda reiterated its call for the weather agency to secure and improve its warning system and institutionalize disaster management operations of various local disaster coordinating councils (DCCs) to prevent the onslaught of another catastrophe.

He said as Super Typhoon Pepeng (PARMA) hovers Bicol with sustained winds of 195 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 230 kph, the apparent lack of warning instruments of the government weather agency and an institutionalized disaster management program of local disaster councils would the major cause of deaths and destruction of infrastructure wrought by storm every time it hits the country.

Salceda, in his analysis on how disaster authorities cope with Tropical storm Ketsana, said the crux of over 200 deaths and people in various parts of Metro Manila and neighboring regions is failure in warning.

He said the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has no Doppler radar to forecast short-run rainfall content of incoming typhoons or other weather disturbances.

Presently, the agency is using a manual rain gauges that captures data too late and the access of disaster authorities to the system is not direct and not on real time, the goernor pointed out.

Salceda, a top administration economic adviser, is also a climate change advocate and is known for his “pre-emptive” evacuation procedures during times of calamities.

He said that typhoon warnings are limited to only to wind – no flood warning or landslide warning system to activate evacuation.

Salceda said “with no, little or late warning and no institutionalized disaster management system, the National Capital Region (NCR) and other regions were caught flat-footed at the sudden on-set of the flood.”

“They failed to issue advisories on what to do, no evacuation order was issued prior to the flood event, and these advisories must be scientifically done,” he said.

For this reasons, Salceda recommended that the weather agency should expedite acquisition of Doppler radars, developed a flood warning system to activate evacuation procedures by disaster authorities.

He also urged local disaster councils to institutionalize disaster preparedness at the local governments level.

He also highly recommended the implementation of a pre-emptive evacuation procedures to prevent further the loss of lives. “Rescue is not needed if people are already evacuated,” he pointed out.

Dam water discharge warning should also be integrated into Pagasa warning and forecast.

He also urged representatives of the Lower House to immediately pass its version of the proposed Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) bill to institutionalize DRR in the regional, provincial and local levels. The Senate version has been already approved, Salceda said.

The Philippines should start to adapt measures to the escalating impacts of climate change as manifested by recent extreme weather events, he said. (PNA)

FFC/LQ/MSA/cbd

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