Project Noah revamps disaster management platform

Project Noah revamps disaster management platform
The improved website contains more hazard maps ranging from storm surge, landslide, to debris flow, plus detailed barangay flood-hazard maps

MANILA, Philippines – More than 3 years after its creation, the Department of Science and Technology’s Project Noah, the country’s leading program for disaster prevention and mitigation, introduces its new and improved website.

The improved website has a new look, allows more features on the platform, and is more user-friendly.

View Project Noah’s new platform.

New and complete hazard maps

More hazard maps are now integrated in the website. 

It gives users options to check the following maps:

  • Barangay-level flood hazard maps (for major river basins)
  • Storm surge hazard maps (for all coastal communities)
  • Landslide hazard maps (for the entire Philippines)
  • Debris flow hazard maps

Two years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the country, multi-hazard maps have been completed for all 171 affected municipalities. Yolanda is the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and the deadliest in modern Philippine history, killing thousands in 2013.

“For the Yolanda-affected areas, the 171 municipalities, I’ve already made the transfer to the NAMRIA geoportal. Those are the official maps to be used for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas,” Project Noah executive director Mahar Lagmay said in a press conference on Friday, December 12.

Meanwhile, in areas with no Internet connection, the agency said it will provide local government units with printed copies of the hazard maps.

“We want 1,000 copies published for each province. And if we have 1,000 copies published for each province, each barangay (village) in that province will have a copy – one atlas for landslide, one atlas for storm surge,” Lagmay said.

“And then for each province – probably there are about 700-plus barangays – there will still be something left for others to use; for example, in schools, police stations, and hospitals,” Lagmay added.

How vulnerable are you?

The new platform also has the improved WebSAFE app, an impact-assessment tool that can calculate the number of people and buildings that may be affected by certain hazards in a particular area.

“Local government units can better approximate and plan for the minimum needs of affected individuals,” Project Noah said in a press statement.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT. The improved WebSafe tool on the Project Noah website estimates the number of people and buildings that maybe affected by a particular hazard. Screengrab from Project Noah website

Hazard maps in an instant

Project Noah also introduced the newest version of its mobile app, Arko. In an instant, the app can generate flood hazard maps within a 2.5-kilometer radius from one’s location. It now has storm surge and landslide hazard maps too.

Earlier this year, Arko won the World Summit Awards for Mobile Inclusion and Empowerment.

‘Lack of visual communication’

Lagmay emphasized the importance of detailed hazard maps, saying that without them, people would not know the safest places to go to during disasters.

He added that during Super Typhoon Yolanda, there was a lack of visual communication or hazard maps.

“We have to focus on that. We have to be able to deliver hazard maps at the barangay level [with enough details] to tell people if there is a hazardous place and where are the safest places to go [to],” Lagmay explained.

“That no other country has that kind of mapping product on a nationwide scale is enough reason to relaunch the website,” he added. Rappler.com 

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