DOST needs more scientists, supercomputers to further upgrade Project NOAH

By Juzel Danganan and Juan Paulo Gutierrez

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) needs more scientists and enhanced technology to further upgrade Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), the public warning apparatus of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA).

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo on Tuesday specifically mentioned the need to acquire super computers to further upgrade the high quality of the ongoing project and enhance its warning systems.

Montejo announced this during the 2nd anniversary of the Project NOAH at the DOST-PAG-ASA main lobby in Agham Road, Quezon City.

Among those present were DOST officials and personnel of the PAGASA, the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM), ClimateX and Weather Information-Integration for System Enhancement (WISE).

PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano said they are also studying ways to package their warnings and information that will easily be understood by the public.

He added that cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is vital to the execution and enhancement of the project particularly in establishing additional radars to cover more areas vulnerable to disasters and heavy rainfall.

On the other hand, Project NOAH Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay raised the need of training more scientists.

Val Barcinal, director of the Marikina Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), said Project NOAH has immensely contributed in the dissemination of accurate anti-disaster warning systems in their flood-prone area.

“Just like in the bible, NOAH is the saving grace of mankind,” he said, adding that timely warning from the project has contributed in saving lives and properties especially during the typhoon season.

The NOAH project is accurate by 80 percent, according to the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

Project NOAH forecasts weather activity four hours before a weather disturbance hits a certain locality.

Its current technology on disaster prevention includes the use of hazard maps, Doppler radars, and computations on flood levels, wind strength and amount of rainfall.

Project NOAH is the DOST’s response to the call of President Benigno S. Aquino III for a more accurate, integrated, and responsive disaster prevention and mitigation system, especially in high-risk areas throughout the country. (PNA)