Philippines and UK collaboration to boost disaster risk management efforts

The Philippine Government, in collaboration with the UK, is launching a programme to reduce the risk from natural disasters and potentially save millions in lives and property.


The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines (UP) are formally launching the Nationwide Disaster Risk and Exposure for Mitigation (DREAM) Program on 23 November in UP-Diliman.


The DREAM Program will be a vital cog in the forecasting and early warning system being set up by the Philippine Government to address disaster events. It is part of the DOST’s Project NOAH or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, touted as the Philippine Government’s high-technology response to flood disasters.


“We are delighted to be working together with the Philippine Government in developing an effective system that will help save lives and property. The LIDAR system is already making a difference in the UK, and we are optimistic that this technology will make a genuine contribution to the Philippine Government’s efforts to decrease the risk from natural disasters,” said Steph Lysaght, First Secretary at the British Embassy, who was present during the launch.


On 22 November, the DREAM Programme held the maiden flight of its airborne maiden flight of its airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) mapping system in Clark Airbase.


DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, who was present at the ceremonial flight and the launch, thanked the UK Government for providing additional expertise to the programme through the British Embassy.


Montejo said the LIDAR technology will enable them to make more accurate flood models that will be the basis to warn communities in advance of potentially deadly floods. “Together with the other components of Project NOAH like the deployment locally made Hydromel sensors and rainfall forecast modelling, we are slowly building the infrastructure of how we will be able to issue at least a six-hour warning to vulnerable communities against floods and other rain induced hazards for entire country,” he added.


LIDAR is a technology that offers 3-dimensional laser scanning and mapping. It has been widely used in the UK over the past ten years for both airborne and ground surveying as part of flood risk assessment work and forestry management. The LIDAR technology will help assess the vulnerability of the Philippines to natural disasters. It will also help with forestry management and planning, flood modelling and coastal management, as well as identifying possible renewable energy opportunities such as wind, hydro and geothermal.


To support the use of the LIDAR system, DOST and UP entered into a knowledge sharing agreement with the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency (EA). Two LIDAR experts from the EA Geomatics Group, Alastair Duncan and Patrick Hogarth, are currently in the country to share their expertise and experience in LIDAR data processing with local technical specialists. This phase of the programme is funded by the UK Government through the British Embassy.


Media contact:


Lynn Ayers Plata

British Embassy Manila