Monday, March 4, 2013

GIZ, Sorsogon-LGU, and 2 other LGUs ink MOA for flood warning project

Gov Raul Lee, GIZ DRM Sector Chief Mr. Olaf Neussner signs LFWES MOA

By: Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, Feb 27 (PIA) – The Provincial Government of Sorsogon together with the Local Government Unit of Irosin and Juban and the Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) or the German Agency for International Cooperation entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS) Project for the Cadac-an River stretch from Irosin to Juban town.

Present during the MOA Signing held on February 28, 2013 at the Provincial Training Hall, Capitol Building in Sorsogon City were Mr. Olaf Neussner, Disaster Risk Management Sector Chief of GIZ; Governor Raul R. Lee; Juban Municipal Mayor Jimmy Fragata; and Irosin town Vice Mayor Medardo S. Futalan, Jr., who represented Mayor Eduardo Ong.

It was also witnessed by the representatives of government line agencies, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and some Sorsogon media.

(Photo: VALabalan)
According to Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (SPDRRMO) Chief Raden Dimaano, the MOA seeks to empower local governments and communities in addressing flood disasters, enhancing their forecasting capacity and improving response capacity through early warning system.

Juban and Irosin towns topped the list of multiple hazard prone areas in Sorsogon with histories of flashflood and landslide episodes during intense rainfall. Aside from this, the two municipalities also experienced rigorous impact of Bulusan Volcano’s past activities such as lahar flows.

Mayor Fragata in his presentation said that 14 barangays with 18,990 populations along Cadacan River are affected by floods during tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall brought by Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Heavily damaged during floods is their agricultural sector which affects local food security. Irosin, meanwhile, has 16 barangays with more than 35,736 populations along Cadac-an River that are vulnerable to flooding.

Mayor Fragata is however optimistic that inspired by the success story of GIZ-LFWES in Leyte Province in 2008, the LFEWS that will be replicated in Juban will surely achieve an improved institutional performance of local governments and increasing public awareness in order to save lives and minimize damages to properties and injuries to people in times of devastating floods.

Mr. Neussner, meanwhile said the LFEWS recognizes that it is important to look at the whole watershed or river basin as a system to understand where all the water causing the flood comes from.

“It can reduce casualties and damages to moveable property substantially. Basically, LFEWS detects a flooding condition upstream and warns inhabitants downstream of the approaching flood,” he added.

Cadac-an River is the main river system that traverses the municipalities of Juban and Irosin. Cadac-an River is the biggest and longest river of the province and has four main tributaries and sixteen collateral feeders covering a length of 35 kilometers. This river originates from the slope of the Bulusan Volcano to the Maraot Banwa Mountain ranges and stretches to the valley floor of Irosin and Juban before it flows out to Sorsogon Bay.

Following the MOA signing was the media interaction. Ms. Gemma Ocon, Disaster Risk Management Senior Advisor of GIZ, solicited the help of the media in the communication advocacy component of the project.

Damaged River Control at Cadac-an River (Brgy. Binanuahan, Juban, Sor.)
In the afternoon, the GIZ representatives together with the members of the media present were toured by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (SPDRRMO) personnel headed by their chief Engr. Raden Dimaano together with Juban Municipal DRRMO Ms. Lispeth Nicolas in Brgy Gabao, Irosin and Brgy. Binanuahan in Juban showing both ends of the Cadac-an River and the devastations brought by the past typhoons and heavy flooding.

Governor Lee, meanwhile, stressed that it is imperative to strengthen the disaster preparedness and response efforts of all LGUs in the province. “Undeniably, there is a need to forge alliances with development partners like the GIZ to prevent untimely loss of life and further damage to properties,” the local chief executive also said.

The project is financially supported by the European Community under the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) within the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) Action Plan 8, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).

GIZ is a federally-owned enterprise that supports the German government in the field of international development cooperation. For more than 30 years now, GIZ has been cooperating with Philippine partners in strengthening the capacity of people and institutions to improve the lives of Filipinos in this generation and generations to come. Together with its partners, they work to balance economic, social and ecological interests through multi-stakeholder dialogue, participation and collaboration. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)

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