Celebration urges preparation vs. typhoons, flooding

  • June 19, 2017

QUEZON CITY, June 19 -- Be prepared.

Such was the message of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) conveyed to the public for the country's 2017 celebration of the annual Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week (TFAW) this month.

"Science-based information for safer nation against typhoon and flood" is the 2017 theme of TFAW that'll run from June 19 to 24.

"The rainy season commenced already so all of us must prepare for tropical cyclones, flooding and even landslides," said PAGASA weather services chief Dr. Esperanza Cayanan Friday on the side of the agency's TFAW kick-off ceremony in Metro Manila.

She urged such preparation to help better protect life, limb and property.

Typhoons and other TCs can still strike the Philippines in forthcoming days even if none occurred in the country since May this year, she said.

For 2017, PAGASA forecast within the Philippine Area of Responsibility one to two TCs in June, two to three TCs in July, two to four TCs in each of August and September, one to three TCs in October and one to two TCs in November.

Presidential Proclamation 1535 series of 2008 declared as TFAW the third week of June that year and the same period annually thereafter to help raise public awareness about and action on typhoons as well as flooding and other related hazards.

The proclamation authorized PAGASA "to undertake appropriate information education and communication activities in connection therewith" with support from other government agencies, Philippines Science Journalists Association, Inc. and the private sector including non-stock and non-profit organization Typhoon Committee Foundation, Inc.

"PAGASA's thunderstorm and rainfall warning systems are institutionalized already -- the challenge is how the public reacts to warnings given," PAGASA Office of the Administrator OIC Catalino Davis said at the kick-off ceremony, highlighting need to prepare for rainfall, flooding and related events.

He assured PAGASA's continuing efforts to further enhance its products and services so this agency can help better protect the public.

During the kick-off ceremony, PAGASA cited several initiatives this agency aims implementing as soon as possible to achieve such goal.

Among those initiatives is issuing forecasts that emphasize TCs' expected impacts on areas these weather systems will likely affect.

PAGASA also targets installing doppler radars in more coastal areas nationwide to help further improve accuracy of this agency's forecasts.

The agency likewise plans expanding its flood warning and forecasting network system.

Davis said PAGASA will maintain the network established under Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) that concluded already.

"We aim integrating and operating that by 2018," he said.

Project NOAH's mission was to undertake disaster science research and development, advance use of cutting-edge technologies and recommend innovative information services in government’s disaster prevention and mitigation efforts.

In line with this year's TFAW, PAGASA said it'll conduct a typhoon and flood awareness seminar for the LGU of Bohol province's second district.

The activity will be in partnership with House of Representative's science and technology committee, noted PAGASA.

There'll be media updates particularly on disaster risk reduction and management, PAGASA added. (Catherine J. Teves-PNA)

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