Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sorsogon Province, Municipalities of Juban and Irosin are beneficiaries of LFEWS

Mr. Olaf Neussner of GIZ interviewed by Sorsogon media.

SORSOGON CITY, April 13 (PIA) – On February 8, 2013, Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee, Vice Mayor Medardo S. Futala, Jr. representing Mayor Eduardo Ong, Jr. of Irosin, Juban Mayor Jimmy Fragata, and Mr. Olaf Neussner, representing Dr. Walter Salzer, of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), signed the Memorandum of Agreement on the establishment of Local Flood Early Warning Systems (LFEWS) at the Provincial Capitol.  The MOA signing was witnessed by line agencies, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and media practitioners based in Sorsogon.

Cadac-an River - Juban part
The Cadac-an River passing through Irosin and Juban are the sites where telemetered rain and river water pressure gauges, and data centers will be installed.  When there is extreme rainfall, the swelling of the river occurs.  This results to flooding in the low lying areas in the two municipalities, making the affected households evacuate their houses, and destroy their houses and mobile properties and damage their agricultural crops. 

Ms. Gemma O. Ocon, the Senior Advisor of GIZ, emphasized that one practical tool to monitor and predict flooding is the community-based LFEWS which will reduce the vulnerability of the communities affected by flooding in the Cadacan River. 

According to her, the LFEWS effectively contributes to disaster preparedness, response and early warning.  The transmission of data generated from the telemetered gauges is done through a radio frequency which is cost efficient and reliable. 

She explained that a Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment will be conducted for the beneficiary-communities to identify the hazards in their areas, the kind of disasters they experience, their present capacities, as well as their coping mechanisms during flooding.  Trainings on the security and maintenance of the LFEWS will be done, and the moment the LFEWS is established, dry run and drills will also be conducted. Communication protocols will also be agreed upon.

Sorsogon Province, Irosin and Juban and GIZ recognize the need for full cooperation to improve the capacities of the province and two LGUs in the establishment and maintenance of LFEWS. 

PAGASA is assisting in the conduct of hydrological survey of the Cadacan River to ensure the proper siting of the gauges.  The LFEWS also complements the efforts of PAGASA, World Food Programme, national line agencies and local government units in Sorsogon in reducing the damages brought about by flooding in the two municipalities.

The LFEWS is under the “Improvement of Disaster Risk Management Integration into Local Development Initiatives in the Philippines” Project.  It is funded by the Disaster Preparedness Program European Commission Humanitarian Aid (DIPECHO) and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and is being implemented by the GIZ through the Environment and Rural Development Program- Disaster Risk Management Sector. The Disaster Risk Management Sector is headed by Mr. Olaf Neussner. 

Cadac-an River is abundant of fish catch.

The project aims to assist provinces, cities, and municipalities in reducing their vulnerabilities to flooding. The assistance focuses on simple and inexpensive preparatory measures, being implemented sustainably by the communities, which are effective in saving lives and reducing damages to properties and livelihood. The assistance covers capacity-building, awareness-raising, early-warning systems, planning and forecasting measures. The pilot areas are selected on their potential to achieve concrete results and their ability to spread knowledge on disaster preparedness and generate learning.

The first LFEWS was put up by GIZ and its partner local government units in Leyte.  The first generation of LFEWS was done in the Binahaan Watershed in 2008.  At present, the LFEWS are being implemented in eight small watersheds in Region VIII. 

The Province of Sorsogon is one of the pilot sites in Luzon.  The other provinces are Albay, Oriental Mindoro and Isabela. (PIA Sorsogon)

During the typhoon Milenyo, the river permanently separated one sitio in Brgy. Binauahan, Juban, Sorsogon isolating at least 56 households from easy access to Juban proper.

Students, workers and the residents from the isolated households need a boat to transfer them to the other side and get access to Juban proper and other municipalities.

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