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Tech Solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction Management in the Philippines

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In a country prone to natural disasters, such as super typhoons, earthquakes, and landslides, researchers are leveraging technology to mitigate the impact of these inevitable incidents. Cutting-edge technologies aimed at disaster preparedness empower authorities and institutions to utilise advancements for natural hazard monitoring and support mitigation efforts, enhancing disaster risk reduction management.

Various technologies empower authorities to understand, assess, and mitigate risks, enabling science-based solutions for disaster risk reduction management. Geo-SAFER serves as a pivotal risk reduction enabler, providing Context-sensitive Online Mapping Services for Development Planning and Resource Management.

This technology aids in identifying key geo-hazard areas vulnerable during heavy downpours, facilitating informed decision-making for effective disaster preparedness and response. Leveraging Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) technologies, Geo-SAFER processes and validates geohazard data to generate flood hazard impact assessment maps and statistics at municipal and barangay levels.

The Remote Sensing and Data Science (DATOS) Help Desk is dedicated to delivering and disseminating pertinent disaster information to agencies and key stakeholders, complementing existing government initiatives. Leveraging Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other Data Science techniques, DATOS integrates past and ongoing DOST-supported projects to produce outputs like flood maps. These resources enable LGUs, policymakers, and stakeholders to assess hazards and actual impacts of severe weather events, enhancing preparedness and response measures.

Facing an average of 20 storms annually, the Philippines stands to gain significant support from a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in disaster risk mitigation and environmental monitoring. These medium-range, fixed-wing UAVs with short take-off and landing capabilities offer rapid assessment of disaster-affected regions.

Locally fabricated and equipped with modular flight controllers, customisable communication systems, and multi-sensor payload capabilities, these UAVs provide flexibility for disaster risk managers to tailor their operations according to specific needs, facilitating access to hard-to-reach disaster areas. Additionally, the UAV Research and Development Program fosters the growth of the local aerospace industry, enhancing the country’s technological capabilities.

During the inaugural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Expo 2023, DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., stressed the necessity of integrating science, technology, and innovation into disaster risk reduction efforts, highlighting the role of these advancements in mitigating the impact of natural hazards and empowering communities to effectively respond to emergencies.

Image credits: GeoRisk Philippines, Facebook

Among the featured initiatives was the GeoRisk Philippines initiative spearheaded by DOST’s Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS). This multifaceted agency presented technologies such as PlanSmart PH and the Seismic Activity Monitoring System, which play crucial roles in early warning and monitoring systems for disaster preparedness.

The GeoriskPH training course, initiated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), aims to empower local governments with the understanding and utilisation of GeoMapperPH in constructing their geodatabase. Topics covered during the intensive training included Earthquake and Volcanic Hazards, Disaster Preparedness, GeoMapperPH, HasardHunterPH, GeoAnalytics PH and GAPH Pro.

DOST-PHIVOLCS collaborated with partners in Region 10 to enhance resilience against volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis by utilising GeoRisk Philippines, enabling proactive measures and preparedness efforts in the face of natural hazards. In collaboration with DOST 10, the Institute conducted a two-day training course for Local Government Units (LGUs) in Northern Mindanao on February 27-28, 2024, to enhance their preparedness and response capabilities.

Similarly, a three-day capacity-building session using GeoriskPH platforms equipped 144 disaster responders from various towns in Pangasinan with essential skills. Led by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-Region 1, the training involved Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (LDRRMO) officers and local planning and development officers (LPDOs) from 44 municipalities and four cities in the province.


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