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Habagat and No More NOAH

Project NOAH

It all started on September 29, 2009. It was just Storm Warning Signal No. 1 over the NCR and surrounding provinces. Tropical Storm Ketsana (Ondoy) was forecasted to pass over the above-mentioned areas and since the winds were not that strong, only rain was expected. But the rain came with the equivalent of a month’s average in volume within the time span of 5 hours. It caused so many deaths and damage to property in the affected areas. That time, there was no way of forecasting rain volume.

On December 2011, Typhoon Sendong devastated Parts of Mindanao. Again, there was no means of forecasting the rain volume. There was a need for more accurate forecasting and then President Aquino instructed that a system be established that will give a more timely, comprehensive and accurate forecast of such disasters.

In July 6, 2012, Project NOAH was launched. NOAH is the National Operational Assessment of Hazard. It is a breakthrough in the cooperation of national agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), National Institute of Geological Sciences, PAGASA, UP College of Engineering,   PHIVOLCS, the Advanced Science and Technology Institute and the Science and Technology Institute.

The aim was to give at least 6 hours lead time for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management agencies to prepare for disaster related operations. This also involves knowing how much rainfall is expected, the strength of winds, generation of hazard maps for vulnerable areas, storm surge estimates, flood-prone areas and even estimate of how much time rain will fall in a particular area.

This involved 21 public and private agencies and institutions that put in equipment for early warning on rainfall amount,  Doppler radar stations that can observe cloud formations, vole of rain and direction. Included were water level measuring devices and early warning systems.

This was implemented and operated from 2012 until 2017. But by February 2017, the funding for NOAH was not continued citing lack of funds.

The University of the Philippines adopted Project NOAH from the DOST.

In the past 3 months composed of June, July, and August of 2018, seasonal Southwest Monsoon (Habagat) has caused loss of life and property that could have been mitigated if NOAH and its systems were still fully operational.

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