Thursday, January 5, 2012

News Update ‘Sendong’ prompts govt to put P1.6B on DREAM high-tech equipment

The of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will get P1.6 billion to improve government response to natural disasters in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong, the worst to have hit the Philippines in more than a decade. The money will be given to the DOST program known as the DREAM or Disaster Risk Exposure, Assessment, and Mitigation, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said Friday. This is part of efforts to boost government capacity on disaster planning and response, Abad noted. “Through the use of the latest technologies, DOST beefing up its capacity to produce weather information, flood maps and other critical data accurately and rapidly,” he said. According to the Department of Budget and Management, the DOST will use the money to buy equipment that use geospatial data gathering technologies and can provide detailed topographic information. Abad said two of the equipment in particular are the Light Intensity Detection and Ranging machine or (LIDAR) and the Airborne Radar Interferometry machine or INSAR. The machine will help government improve and update its flood hazard maps nationwide. Identifying flood prone areas is useful in rescue and relief operations, Abad said. “Furthermore, the resource information to be generated in this DOST project aims to respond to information requirements of development planning, natural resource and environment management, including forestry applications,” the Budget chief noted. “Sendong” ravaged Northern Mindanao on Dec. 16, leaving an estimated 1,500 people dead and damaged over P1.38 billion worth of infrastructure, crops and livestock. — VS,