Philippines and PDC collaborate on supercharged disaster risk reduction programs

July 23, 2019
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Philippines and PDC collaborate on supercharged disaster risk reduction programs
July 23, 2019

An all-encompassing disaster risk reduction initiative was launched by the Philippines on July 23, 2019, taking aim at the country’s extreme hazard exposure. Facing continuous threats from typhoons, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landsides, and emergent risks from climate change, the Philippines is ranked highest among all Southeast Asian nations for disaster risk, and near the top for economic losses.

As severe losses and ongoing socioeconomic setbacks take their toll on communities throughout the Philippines, a new collaboration is advancing with the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC)—a University of Hawaii applied science and research center—and the Philippines national government on two state-of-the-art programs. These include a National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment (NDPBA) and the deployment and operationalization of a new custom hazard monitoring and early warning system, PhilAWARE. Both projects will leverage PDC’s cutting-edge DisasterAWARE technology for Hazard Monitoring and Early Warning (HM/EWS), as well as risk reduction research and mitigation strategies to support operational decision making.

“NDRRMC is constantly in need of situational data, readily available to them at any given time for crucial decision-making and planning against arising threats ahead of time. The PhilAWARE Project gives us that innovation and technology,” said the Philippines’ Under Secretary Ricardo Jalad, Executive Director of the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Administrator of the Philippines Office of Civil Defense (OCD), in his opening remarks kicking off the new programs at Novotel Manila Araneta Center. With 100-plus attendees representing more than 30 agencies and organizations from across governmental, nongovernmental, and private sectors present, participants were called to work together to reduce disaster risk in support of the year-long initiative and beyond.

“We are concentrating our collective efforts with our longtime colleagues and experts in the Philippines on two collaborative programs to enhance the capabilities of decision makers with new tools and information,” said PDC’s Deputy Executive Director Chris Chiesa who also directs the Regional HM/EWS program under which PhilAWARE will be deployed. According to Chiesa, PDC’s in-depth baseline risk and preparedness assessment within each province of the Philippines will help identify meaningful and effective interventions. “We will also be working closely with OCD and their partners to deploy a robust national hazard monitoring, early warning, and decision support system called PhilAWARE—powered by PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform—to support the unique disaster preparedness and response needs of the Philippines,” Chiesa continued, explaining the complementary nature of both programs. He said critical decision-making data and baseline assessment results will be integrated into the new PhilAWARE system; while the system itself will shore up needs likely to be identified in the assessment.

Along with NDRRMC members and other government agencies of the Philippines, other key participants were program funding partners USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, as well as implementation partners, university and other research intuitions, nongovernmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations most active in disaster response.

“We see many similarities between Indonesia and Philippines and we are eager to see how we can adapt our platform and successes to the Philippines,” said Nashin Mahtani, Director of Yayasan Peta Bencana speaking about the crowd-sourced flood reporting tools and data solutions it will provide as a key partner of the program. She said she is very happy to bring their award winning solutions developed under the PDC InAWARE program with BNPB in Indonesia to the Philippines and to share its many successes. Yayasan Peta Bencana will help develop similar tools and automation processes for the Philippines, allowing citizens to participate in the disaster management cycle by reporting hazard incidents through social media.

“It is always our goal to work with local people and local communities, local governments, disaster management agencies, and universities on how they can use the data we create and how they can rely on themselves to keep the data updated. We are working to achieve mutual benefits for all organizations represented here, and direct immediate benefits for the Philippines for preparedness, response, recovery, and better decision making,” said Indonesia Country Manager Yantisa Akhadi of Humanitarian Open Street Map (HOTOSM). He said, not only can the data be used on a professional level by local and national government, but by project partners PetaBencana and other international groups. HOTOSM was another key partner of the PDC InAWARE project, helping to fill gaps in critical geospatial data needed for effective disaster preparedness and response. In the Philippines, HOT will help collect and curate local-scale geospatial information including neighborhood boundary information, transportation, and critical lifeline assets such as hospitals, schools, police, and fire stations.

According to Dr. Erin Hughey, Director of PDC’s Global Operations and NDPBA Program, the services that PDC provides support the gamut of U.N. Sendai Framework priorities for disaster risk reduction. She explained that PDC’s baseline assessment provides detailed insights at the subnational level to support anticipatory disaster risk management and more effective investment in disaster risk prevention for increased resilience. She went on to highlight how PDC’s early warning and decision support technology fully integrates these insights to offer highly effective operational preparedness and response tools.

“We are bringing the entire cadre of these solutions to the Philippines, and engaging local, regional, and national actors to help take part in the sustainability of the solutions we co-develop. This is what sets PDC apart and makes this disaster risk reduction program in the Philippines something to follow as we continue our activities over the course of the next year,” said Dr. Hughey.

What our partners are saying about us...

Title Address Description
Kenta Hamasaki
Honolulu, HI, USATHE CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN, HONOLULU, HI (2016)

"Aloha Julie. Hello. After the registration [for DisasterAWARE], I started to receive warnings such as Typhoon Meranti. That data contains necessary info and is so graphic that it's easy to know at a glance how the impact is. This is very important for our duties. Thank you again."

Paulo Bayly
FijiPERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE & TRANSPORT, FIJI (2016)

"Thank you and your team for so quickly responding to our needs."

Ana Ake
TongaMINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, KINGDOM OF TONGA (2017)

"I was first introduced to EMOPS (DisasterAWARE)...during a HA/DR training in Auckland this year. I've worked with several tools and it is obvious that EMOPS is the only sustainable tool that is available and is openly available."

Jonathan Colwell
California, USAGOESPATIAL COORDINATOR, DHS-FEMA REGION 9 (2016)

"EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) made my day so much easier while monitoring [Tropical Cyclone] AMOS. Data that I thought I'd spend a good part of the morning digging for was available, as were the tools to draw polygons and annotate and meet the requirement."

John Andoe
Texas, USAEMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR, TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (2017)

“Keep up the good work. I'm using EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) in Texas to monitor Hurricane Harvey.”

Matt Lott
Virginia, USAEMERGENCY COORDINATOR OF SAFETY, SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (2016)

"I work for the Virginia DOT as an emergency planner. I would like to be added to your distribution list for awareness products. I followed work during Hurricane Mathew and would like to avail our organization of your great products."

USDA Foreign Agriculture Service officer
Washington, DC, USAUSDA (2016)

"Your suggestion that we look at PDC content and capabilities has really paid off. We partnered with them, and are ingesting their global disaster feeds into [Global Agricultural & Disaster Assessment System] GADAS. The addition of a couple of our own applications to quickly delineate impacted areas and extract agricultural acreage and population has proved quite valuable."

Christopher Vaughan
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

FEMA NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION OFFICER (2015)

"My sincerest thanks to the PDC team during this event. [Tropical Cyclone Dolphin] Your professionalism and dedication to the mission is to be commended. I'm sure we will have plenty to discuss/improve upon in the weeks to follow. Thanks again for all the support. Great job team."

Daniel B. Whitley
1400 Independence Ave SW #5071, Washington, DC 20250, USAACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE (2017)

"On behalf of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services, I would like to express my appreciation and full support of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) for its essential contributions...with data and support...we've been able to improve our global agricultural production and disaster assessment analyses, products, and decision outcomes."

Jesse Rozelle
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USAPROGRAM MANAGER, NATURAL HAZARDS RISK ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, FEMA (2017)

"Aloha PDC team: I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for all of your support during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The modeling and risk assessment support you have provided to FEMA has been incredibly helpful for our response efforts and our emergency management partners. I'm looking forward to a continued partnership."

Lisa Samson on PDC products during hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
Miami, FL, USA

ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISES & COALITION AFFAIRS, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"[I] wanted to pass along that the reports that PDC is generating are succinct and extremely informative. I've passed along to other colleagues in the HQs staff and other COCOMs to peak their interest. Well done!"

William I. Clark
9301 NW 33rd St, Doral, FL 33178, USA

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE DIVISION CHIEF, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"Our success during response efforts is directly related to PDC's contribution. The set of tools offered by your decision support system (DisasterAWARE), the large amount of data, the modeling and assessments, and skill set of your staff are unique. They provide my team with great situational awareness in a timely manner, enabling rapid and informed decision making in critical periods."

Brian Abbott
Doral, FL, USALIEUTENANT COLONEL, PUBLIC-PRIVATE COOPERATION PROGRAM COORDINATOR, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2016)

"As a Public-Private Cooperation (PPC) Program Coordinator, PDC's vision and leadership translates into strategies that enable others to effectively achieve results."

Gayle Outten-Moncour
The Bahamas

BAHAMAS DISASTER RECOVERY MANAGER AND FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY

Jeremy K. Delancy
Nassau, The Bahamas

SENIOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SERVICES & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS (2016)

"I wanted [PDC] to know that I used DisasterAWARE during Hurricane Joaquin and it performed admirably. Some further training will be needed for us to use it to its full capabilities. One of the persons who was quite impressed is Chief Meteorological Officer, Mr. Arnold King."

Carolann Albury
E Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas

DIRECTOR, BAHAMAS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (2017)

"…thank you all for the assistance you have rendered on so many occasions to The BNGISC but more importantly to The Bahamas."

Marcus Elten
New York, NY, USAUNITED NATIONS OCHA (2016)

"I was impressed with how quickly you guys developed situational awareness products...quite impressed with your team's work."

Claudia Mateo
Dominican RepublicPRESIDENT, REPUBLICA DOMINCANA COMISIÓN NACIONAL DE ENERGÍA

"Thank you for being aware of our situation and for the sending of images for analysis."

Paul Ugarte
GuatemalaCONRED SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF GUATEMALA

Eric Yarrell
Comayagua, Honduras

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, JTF-BRAVO (2017)

"JTF-Bravo sincerely appreciated the HADR decision-support information provided by the Pacific Disaster Center during Hurricane Irma response… has been both timely and valuable support of current operations."

Augusto Moreno O'Phelan
PeruDIRECTOR GENERAL FOR POLICY AND STRATEGY, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, PERU (2016)

"Many thanks for your important information about the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas."

Mr. Eliezer Serrano, Jr.
Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, BrazilLEAD DATA FUSION MANAGER, U.S. SOUTHCOM JOINT OPERATIONS CENTER (2016)

PDC's support in the SOUTHCOM region and its commitment to promote public safety were unfailing during the Rio Olympics. [DisasterAWARE] greatly enhanced our situational awareness and offered an abundance of useful data and safety monitoring information."

Don Price
Myanmar (Burma)DISASTER MANAGEMENT ADVISOR, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, MYANMAR (2017)

"The big floods in Southern China are causing some real problems for Vietnam and Myanmar and DMRS/EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) is the best visualization for this regional flood situation."

Susan Cruz
PhilippinesDIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE (2015)

"We are very appreciative of your support to our country."

Giuseppe Timperio
21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119077RESEARCH ENGINEER, ADVANCED SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT & HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (2016)

"I knew of 'InAWARE' and I am impressed by its capabilities. Information sharing in the humanitarian context is still a big challenge (especially in ASEAN), and the efforts you are putting to close this gap are highly appreciated, and indeed highly useful for the whole humanitarian community."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
Matraman, East Jakarta City, Jakarta 13120, Indonesia

HEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR INDONESIA'S NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AGENCY, BNPB

Harlan V. Hale
Banten, IndonesiaREGIONAL ADVISOR, USAID/DCHA/OFDA/EAP

"From a disaster management perspective, these agencies [PDC, HOT, PetaBencana.id] have combined their skills, have worked well together, and have created something that is really innovative, useful, and can actually improve both the disaster response by the government and citizen's participation in it as well."

Willem Rampangilei
Jl. Anyar No.12, RT.2/RW.1, Leuwinutug, Kec. Citeureup, Bogor, Jawa Barat 16810, IndonesiaCHIEF, BNPB

"As I mentioned when we met recently at BNPB HQ Jakarta, I want to extend my appreciation to you, to your colleagues at PDC, and to USAID/OFDA for your hard work and dedication – and for your tangible results – in building capabilities and capacities for disaster risk reduction in Indonesia, especially in the area of hazard monitoring and early warning."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
West Java, IndonesiaHEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, BNPB (2017)

"Thank you very much for your support in Mt Agung eruption. Very useful to us."