Disaster mitigation gadgets installed in Region 12

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/03 October) — Three automated weather stations (AWS) have been installed in Southwestern Mindanao in line with the government’s disaster mitigation modernization program nationwide, a top regional official at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.

The installation of the disaster mitigation gadgets came on the heels of flooding that recurred last week in this city and parts of Maguindanao province, caused by rainfall and the massing of water hyacinths at the Rio Grande de Mindanao River.

Zenaida Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST-12 director, said the AWS can also be used to issue a tsunami warning to give people in coastal areas time to evacuate.

“The AWS is a modern weather tracking device that can do remote meteorological measurements and send data on a real-time basis,” she said in a statement.

She said that each AWS, which cost P250,000, was installed at the General Santos City airport, at the People’s Palace compound in Cotabato City and in Barangay Badyangon in the coastal town of Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat province.

She said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), an attached agency of the DOST, is presently embarking on the establishment of AWS nationwide in line with its modernization program.

The project is in coordination with the DOST’s Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), which developed various instruments such as AWS to assist Pagasa in weather monitoring and forecasting.

Pagasa, in addition to the Doppler radar installation project, needs the AWS to automate its ground stations for a faster, more accurate and efficient data system to help in early warning and monitoring of potential disasters.

The automation of data acquisition and transmission will decrease operational cost and minimize the possibility of errors brought about by manual instruments, Laidan said.

The AWS project hopes to establish and maintain a nationwide environmental monitoring network that will continuously provide warnings for the mitigation of environment-related disasters.

Each AWS is equipped with sensors capable of measuring weather parameters, wind speed and direction, air temperature, air humidity, air pressure, rain volume, duration and intensity.

It will also help in monitoring flood and typhoon that may affect the locality.

There will be a total of 80 AWS stations that will be established in the different parts of the country.

The nationwide setting up of AWS is under a special project dubbed “Development of Hybrid Weather Monitoring System and Production of Weather and Rain Automated Stations.”

It also seeks to support the disaster preparedness programs of local government units, particularly their respective Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils.

The AWS also aims to improve the climate change adaptation and disaster risk mitigation programs of the LGUs. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)