MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), launched an information center that will provide scientific tools to the government and other relief organizations involved in rehabilitation of ‘Yolanda’ affected areas at the UP National Engineering Center in Diliman, Quezon City Saturday.
The facility known as the Yolanda Rehabilitation Scientific Information Center (YORINFOCENTER) will serve as an information hub for local and foreign aid agencies, national government agencies and local government units where they will be provided high resolution maps and satellite images that can be utilized for ongoing rehabilitation efforts.
“The center will be releasing topographic maps as well as latest satellite images for the ‘Yolanda’ affected areas,” DOST Sec. Mario Montejo said in his address.
“We will also provide multi-hazard maps on floods and areas prone to landslides and storm surges. We also have experts that can be consulted on these data sets,” he added.
For his part, Project NOAH Program Manager Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, stressed the importance of visualizing the impact of natural hazards on communities in implementing disaster preparedness measures.
Lagmay presented the latest flood and storm surge simulation maps of municipalities affected by ‘Yolanda’.
“Our maps can provide in detail the exact location of houses and buildings that could be impacted by floods, landslides and storm surges. Through our data, barangay leaders would be able to implement immediate evacuation of residents when disaster strikes,” he said.
On the other hand, DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Elmer Billedo stated that the department will be providing geohazard maps that will identify possible resettlement sites for the affected residents.
The information center was established in response to requests from local government units and aid agencies for scientific-based data which would determine potential hazard zones.The data that will be provided will be used to effectively plan the building of buildings and facilities away from disaster-prone areas and to assess the impact of disasters on the communities.
The center will be housed at the UP National Engineering Center and will be manned by experts from the DOST’s Project NOAH and Dream (Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation) Program and the DENR-MGB.
The DOST, through its Dream Program, launched earlier this year the Smarter Visayas initiative Satellite-based Monitoring and Assessment of Rehabilitation in Typhoon-Affected Regions (SMARTER Visayas) where it acquired latest satellite images to assess the damage caused by Typhoon ‘Yolanda’.