DUMAGUETE CITY, February 14 (PIA) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and PAGASA recently held a  Local Flood Early Warning Systems (LFEWS) consultative conference for around 50 City/Municipal Planning Officers and Disaster Risk Reduction Officers from the different local government units (LGUs) in Negros Oriental.

The activity aimed to inform and assist the LGUs with flood-prone rivers to establish a Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS).

Engr. Socrates Paat Jr., Senior Weather Specialist of Hydromet Division of PAGASA, discussed the flood mitigation programs and projects that can be incorporated in the Disaster Risk Reduction Plan of the provincial and local government units.

Paat said that among the aspects to consider in establishing LFEWS are: flood forecasting and warning system, building community resilience, hazard mapping, flashflood early warningsystem, putting up of satellite-based information in rivers, and flood management.

On the other hand, Engr. Juan Elmer Caringal, Weather Specialist II of PAGASA, said flooding is caused by occurence of tropical cyclone, inter-tropical convergence zones, Southwest moonsoon, and other forms of weather disturbances aggravated by the altering of the ecological system, increasing level of urbanization, improper waste disposal, and increasing population density.

Accuracy and timeliness are two of the important factors in flood forecasting and warning before issuing a general flood advisory to the public, Caringal said.

Engr. Jose Chiu, DRRM Officer of Dumaguete City, however, questioned  some inacuracies with PAGASA’s weather forecasting, especially in tracking the typhoon direction compared to that of Japan Meteorological Agency.

Paat acknowledged the discrepancies but stressed that they have already improved their forecasting capabilities.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Adrian Sedillo, on the other hand, raised his concern on PAGASA’s rain gauge processing which he claimed does not issue flood warnings at real time.

Valencia LDRRM Officer Fredo Anqui echoed Sedillo’s concern, saying that based on their experience in his town, floods occur so fast, before the rain gauge can be processed.

To cap the one-day conference, the participants identified the rivers in the province for the proposed establishment of LFEWS  with the support of stakeholders from the local, regional, national government agencies (GAs) and non government organizations (NGOs). (rmn/LPP/PIA-7 Negros Oriental)