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Koreans bankroll P250M PAGASA flood forecasting center in QC

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The Korean government, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) inaugurated on Friday the Pasig-Marikina-Tullahan River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in Quezon City.

The center marks the completion of KOICA and PAGASA’s Automation of Flood Early Warning System for Disaster Mitigation in Greater Metro Manila project.

“Among the priority areas of KOICA Philippine office is disaster preparation and preparedness. KOICA included this section in its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) from 2016 to 2020,” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.

He added that PAGASA has been a strong partner of KOICA in bringing development projects since 2007.

The Automation of Flood Early Warning System for Disaster Mitigation in Greater Metro Manila project aims to improve responsiveness to natural disasters and mitigate damages to residents in Tullahan and Pasig-Marikina river basins.

The project will help minimize property damages and casualties since this will enable PAGASA to forecast way ahead of flooding incident.

“This project is our way of addressing the challenge on massive flooding. We will use our foresight to see all the possible dangers, and we will utilize the technology,” the DOST Secretary said.

KOICA provided PAGASA with a $5.2 million for the project. The grant will be used to establish a command center with state-of-the-art equipment, specifically, for the installation of automatic water level gauges, automatic rain gauges, warning posts, close-circuit camera television units (CCTVs); the development of 10 units of software; and setting up relay stations and wireless network for the CCTVs.

“The money was not given to us. KOICA disburses. The total cost spent for the past three years was P250 million,” dela Peña said.

As part of this project, Korean experts will share their technical know-how, and enhance the capabilities of PAGASA personnel to respond to natural disasters.

Training programs in Korea for PAGASA officials and other stakeholders, and workshops for local government units and their residents are also included in the project, according to KOICA.

“The Korean government recognizes the urgent need to address and mitigate the devastation caused by floods, as it is considered to be one of the most damaging natural disasters in the country. We recognize the need to strengthen disaster response capacities to save and protect more lives,” Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man said in his speech during the launch. (PNA)