KOICA donates P140-M flood early-warning gadgets, equipment to Pagasa

October 29, 2009 10:06 am 

By Chie Cristobal

MANILA, Oct. 29 –The Korean government pledged to donate early-warning gadgets and equipment worth US$ 3 million, or about P143 million, to the Philippines Atmospheric , Geophysical and Astronomical Services (Pagasa) to enhance its flood forecasting capabilities in Metro Manila.

Joong Kyung Choi, ambassador of South Korea to the Philippines, said that the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) the early warning system gadgets and equipment would be used for flood disaster mitigation in 18 municipalities in Metro Manila.

“In the past few weeks, all of us have experienced in one way or another the devastation caused by (tropical storm) 'Ondoy' and Typhoon 'Pepeng'. Thousands of lives were lost, millions of Filipinos have been affected and enormous social and economic damages were incurred,” he said.

“While the donations are very helpful in the recovery of typhoon victims, we also recognize the utmost importance of having long-term interventions that focus on disaster preparedness and mitigation. Such assistance will prevent this regrettable situation from happening again,” he said.

Installations of early warning and response system for disaster mitigation in Metro Manila also includes the deployment of a Korean survey team on the second week of November, to hasten the implementation and completion of the project by February next year.

Susan Espinueva, the chief of Pagasa Hydrometeorology Division, said the project would provide as much advance notice of an imminent flood especially in Metro Manila and surrounding affected places.

Espinueva earlier said that the early warning system was “an upscale” of the first flood mitigation project grant from KOICA, which covered the river basin in Aurora, Jalaur river basin in Iloilo and Agus-Lake Lanao watershed in Lanao provinces that was completed last July.

KOICA and Pagasa will install state-of-the-art flood forecasting system like control/monitor stations, LCD monitor, personal computers, seven automatic weather stations, five water level gauging stations with video monitors, two data repeaters and civil works, as well as software and hardware integration.

The grant will include the establishment of seven automatic weather stations as well as rainfall guaging stations in the municipalities lying in the upstream of the Pasig-Marikina river like Montalban, San Mateo, and Antipolo in Rizal.

She also said thatthe monitorings stations would be put up in Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Cainta in Rizal; PAGASA Science Garden and Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City as well as in the cities of Marikina and Pasig.

She also said that KOICA would build another control station in PAGASA Science Garden with a communication system using a radio link that will connect stations in Mount Mataba in Montalban and Antipolo in Rizal to Pagasa Science Garden in Quezon City.

KOICA will also provide maintenance vehicle and patrol cars to make sure that over 12 million people residing in Pasig, Marikina and nearby areas within NCR will benefit from the flood disaster mitigation project.

Espinueva noted that the grant also cover the training of PAGASA weather and water experts while the local government units in Metro Manila will provide a counterpart fund of more than P36 million, including the use of personnel office space and equipment.

The Pasig-Marikina River is the main river basin in eastern part of Metro Manila, which stretches from Rodriguez in Rizal, passing through San Mateo in Marikina and Quezon City towards the Pasig River, she said.

The river, with depth of three to 21 meters and spans from 70 to 120 meters, is one of the main tributaries of the Pasig-Marikina-Laguna de Bay Basin with a drainage area of 353 square kilometers.

Espinueva said that project would enhance the current flood warning system in NCR, where only a portion of the flow of Pasig-Marikina River is controlled and diverted by the Manggahan Floodway to Laguna Lake as the remaining water is drained to Manila Bay through Pasig River.

The river regularly overflows and floods the surrounding basin during periods of heavy rains. Tropical storm “Ondoy,” that hit Metro Manila last Sept. 26 caused the highest recorded overflow of Marikina River, resulting in heavy loss of lives and properties.

“Ondoy” left over 300 people dead, causing about P10-billion damages to infrastructure and private properties. (PNA)

RMA/Chie Cristobal/rsm

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