The recently- conducted GIS 8 Network 6th Conference and 14th Regional Assembly underscored the benefits of optimizing the use of geospatial information in support to disaster risk reduction and management. Held on November 15-16, 2012 at the Leyte Park Resort Hotel, the conference which was hosted by the Department of Agriculture Region 8, centered on the theme “GIS in Aid for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.”
The Philippines, like other countries in the Pacific Rim, are exposed to a variety of hazards including floods, storm surges and strong winds associated with tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides. The severity of tropical storm Ketsana prompted the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to request technical support from UN-SPIDER and the activation of the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
Shirish Ravan, UN-SPIDER
On 9 July 2010, UN-SPIDER conducted an expert mission to the Philippines to conduct meetings with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other government agencies. The mission included a meeting with government agencies that are members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) including the Office of Civil Defense, PAGASA, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), the Mines Bureau and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The mission allowed UN-SPIDER to establish closer links with its National Focal Point NRRMC and with other government agencies within the Philippines. The mission allowed these agencies to become aware of the mission of UN-SPIDER, the type of Technical Advisory Support that it can provide to the Philippines and on the usefulness of in case of disaster-risk reduction and emergencyresponse. The meeting allowed participants to discuss the usefulness of space-based information during the 2009 typhoon season (Ketsana, Parma, Lupit and Mirinae), potential applications in the upcoming typhoon season as well as lessons learned, and existing mechanisms such as the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters and Sentinel Asia that have been established by the space community to support countries facing the impacts of major disasters. The mission also allowed UN-SPIDER to become aware of on-going efforts in the Philippines in the areas of disaster-risk reduction and emergency response.
The sixth western Pacific tropical cyclone (06W) of 2011 has developed near the Philippines and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite saw some heavy rainfall in the storm. Tropical Depression 06W was dropping the heaviest rain over the open waters of the Western North Pacific Ocean on June 17 as the storm continues to move toward China.