COMMUNITY-BASED EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ALONG THE AGOS RIVER IN INFANTA, REAL AND GEN. NAKAR Deacon Mario Van Loon, act Coordinator Social Action Center Prelature of Infanta Strengthening Climate Resilience Regional Workshop 22-23 July, 2010 Bangkok, Thailand
Situated along the Agos River and lying at the foot of Sierra Madre Mountain, the two municipalities of Infanta and General Nakar in Quezon province have always been exposed to the threat of disaster, the most recent of which occurred in November 2004.
The 2004 Calamity… … brought 20,000 metric tons of mountain soils in Real, Infanta, Gen. Nakar (Quezon) and Dingalan (Aurora). … approximately 3 meters above-sea-level flashflood … 4–5 million cubic meters of timbers, logs and uprooted trees. … 188,332 has. of 255,501 has. land area was badly affected. Displaced People: 135,000 Confirmed Dead: 1,462
<ul><li>Communities along the river suffered the most, due to its geographical location. The five barangays of Infanta and 11 barangays in General Nakar along the Agos River are areas highly vulnerable to flooding. Floods, mudslides and landslides exacerbated by strong typhoons threaten the surrounding communities; </li></ul><ul><li>This need to come up with effective disaster preparedness and response plan and install early warning systems are clearly urgent concerns for Infanta and General Nakar to prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future. </li></ul>
The Social Action Center <ul><li>The Social Action Center (SAC) – Northern Quezon is a Church-based, non-stock, nonprofit organization operating in the Prelature of Infanta, Province of Quezon. It was established in 1972 as an offshoot of the second Vatican’s Council’s all for the church greater involvement in social issues and concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>It coordinates, supervises and implements social action programs aimed at improving the condition of the poor and addresses the social, cultural, economic and political needs of the people in the Prelature especially the marginalized sectors. </li></ul><ul><li>It has implemented programs in agricultural rehabilitation, upland farming, emergency relief operation, production loan, livestock production, educational assistance, advocacy, value and spiritual formation, and disaster risk reduction (DRR). </li></ul>
The Social Action Center <ul><li>There is now a conscious effort to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) in all on-going projects being implemented by the Social Action Center; </li></ul><ul><li>The most influential NGO that helped SAC embrace the DRR framework is Christian Aid through various trainings, workshops, mentoring and monitoring activities; </li></ul><ul><li>SAC also contributed to different national and international forum on DRR/CCA by sharing its program’s best practices and shared its lesson learned for possible replication; </li></ul><ul><li>SAC in 2007 received SASAKAWA Award given by UN/ISDR for its efforts in rebuilding REINA area after the 2004 calamity; and Gawad Kalasag Award in 2009 given by the National Government of the Philippines. </li></ul>
Community-Based Early Warning System (EWS) Project <ul><li>The project also enhances the adaptive capacity of the 16 vulnerable Barangays / communities by: </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthening the risk management capacity of the communities along the Agos River by forming, training and strengthening response unit and developing contingency plans. </li></ul>
Community-Based Early Warning System (EWS) Project <ul><li>Installation and operation of an Early Warning System such as: </li></ul><ul><li>two way radio communication system </li></ul><ul><li>establishment of flood watch points and </li></ul><ul><li>installation of manual rain gauges. </li></ul>
Community-Based Early Warning System (EWS) Project <ul><li>Coordinating efforts with the MDCCs of Infanta and General Nakar, & other organizations and institutions to establish social support networks on disaster risk reduction. </li></ul><ul><li>The project also initiated the reactivation and training of the Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council (BDCC). </li></ul>
Community-Based Early Warning System (EWS) Project <ul><li>Linking with scientific agencies like PAGASA, Manila Observatory and UP-NIGS to receive accurate and scientific data of climate forecasting and weather analysis where the smallholder farmers may use in order to plan and design sound adaptation farming strategies . </li></ul>
Community-Based Early Warning System (EWS) Project <ul><li>Relay climate forecasts to the communities to prepare for the farm and determine crops to be planted. </li></ul>
Fax Message / Telephone/E-mail Special forecast from PAGASA OCD Localized/Indigenous EWS developed COMMUNITY MDCC Intelligence Disaster Analysis Unit Control Base Station <ul><li>- B D C C </li></ul><ul><li>Local Disaster/ Preparedness Team </li></ul>Fax Message Telephone/Email The Flow of the Early Warning System Water level measuring station Rainfall Observation <ul><li>Observation of river conditions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Color </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Force of flow </li></ul><ul><li>Sound </li></ul><ul><li>Debris Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Movement of Current </li></ul><ul><li>Water level </li></ul>
Project Outputs and Impact <ul><li>Successful installation and operation of instruments and water measuring level stations, as well as efficient communication systems in Infanta and General Nakar; </li></ul><ul><li>Measured water levels and water flow in the Agos River; </li></ul><ul><li>Site selection and installation of radio base communication; </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building provided for two-way radio operation and communication skills; </li></ul>
Project Outputs and Impact <ul><li>Capacity building of the BDCCs on disaster preparedness and contingency planning, search and rescue, and first aid; </li></ul><ul><li>Reactivation of 16 Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council in Infanta and General Nakar; </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships established with the MDCCs of the two municipalities; </li></ul>
Project Outputs and Impact <ul><li>Disaster preparedness is now consciously being integrated in all SAC projects; </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraged the spirit of “bayanihan’ or community cooperation, family ties and close relationships within the neighborhood; </li></ul><ul><li>Communities now have a defined and organized emergency measures which will enable them to cope with extreme weather events thus minimizing/preventing the loss of lives and livelihood. </li></ul>
Lessons Learned <ul><li>Project implementation will run successfully if partnership with all the stakeholders in the locality is firmly established; </li></ul><ul><li>Vigorous involvement of the community raises the consciousness of the population and guarantees the efficiency of the project result. People’s direct participation in project implementation develops their confidence and level of capacity to perform tasks beneficial for the whole community; </li></ul><ul><li>Use of two-way radio is the most efficient means of transmitting message given the geographical condition of the area as cell phones are often unreliable in places without electricity and in locations where signal is difficult to obtain. </li></ul>
Lessons Learned <ul><li>A high-value project can be achieved and implemented with less investment by utilizing all available resources and establishing partnership and coordination with different sectors both local and outside the program area; </li></ul><ul><li>The early warning system has a vital role on the current problem on climate change; </li></ul><ul><li>Climate forecasting by the academic and scientific institutions that will be brought down at the local level can help agricultural communities in ensuring the security of their livelihood. Local government units should be persuaded to establish additional preparedness and mitigation measures apart from the present emergency disaster plan to further minimize the negative impact of disasters; </li></ul>
Lessons Learned <ul><li>Volunteers need to be effectively trained in the assessment and interpretation of data; </li></ul><ul><li>Linkages with scientific and government agencies that can assist in the accurate interpretation of data must be established; </li></ul><ul><li>A common, simple and defined system of operation of the warning system can prevent panic that may lead to more damages. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Social Action Center </li></ul><ul><li>Prelature of Infanta </li></ul><ul><li>303 Bahay Pag-asa Compound, Mabini Street </li></ul><ul><li>Infanta 4336 Quezon </li></ul>
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