Manila, Philippines — Areas in Metro Manila at high risk during natural disasters may now be known through an accurate hazard map. The Australian government has formally handed over the 3D maps of the capital to the Philippines government. The map uses LiDAR technology to identify areas severely at risk during natural disasters.
Australian Ambassador to Manila Red Smith said the advanced data would transform the Philippines’ approach to disaster risk and reduce the vulnerability to future natural disasters of millions of Filipinos living in Metro Manila.
Australia, through its agencies AusAID and Geoscience Australia, generated the detailed aerial survey of the Philippines’ main metropolis – the first time that LiDAR had been used in the country.
Smith said this P260-million (USD 5,996,310) package is part of Australia’s response to the devastation wrought by typhoon Ondoy, nearly two years ago.
“The frequency of disasters and their consequent impact is on the rise,” said Smith who presented the data to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority. “Their severity and impacts are predicted to intensify with climate change. We are well aware that natural disasters constrain efforts for people to escape poverty. High quality risk information is the first line of effective disaster risk reduction,” he added.
In addition, Australia will partner with relevant agencies over the next two years to use the LiDAR data to build more accurate risk profile of Metro Manila to model the impacts of disasters in terms of human casualties, damage to house and critical infrastructure, and crop losses.
Smith pointed out that the effort is focused on Metro Manila because this is where disaster risk—in both human and economic terms—is most heavily concentrated in the Philippines.
Once developed, the new risk model will be made available to all local government unites in Metro Manila.
The Australian envoy said this will enable governments and communities to better understand their vulnerability to earthquakes, floods and severe wind so they can prepare and fund their respective disaster action plans.
“We cannot stop the earthquake, typhoons or flooding rains that will strike metro manila in the future. But we can act to prevent the deaths, hardship and economic damage that these disasters regularly cause,” Smith said.
The Philippines, due to its geographical location, is highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.