SOON  ON  TEXT MESSAGING SYSTEM:  FLOOD  ALERTS

MANILA,
JUNE 26, 2008
(STAR) By Helen Flores - The state weather bureau will be sending text messages to residents alerting them of possible flashfloods and other calamities in their area.

Allan Pineda, officer-in-charge of the Flood Forecasting Branch of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said they are currently developing a system where they can issue flood warnings via the short messaging system (SMS) or text messages to residents in a certain area to avoid casualties and damages especially during the typhoon season.

“We would provide flood warnings to specific sites through text messaging. Anybody who is interested can register their cellphone number in our database for flood guidance,” Pineda said.

Pineda said the alert method would be operational by the last quarter of the year, since Pagasa is already preparing the database where all the contacts would be registered.

Pineda said a resident must register her specific location in Pagasa’s website.

“In case we monitor flood in an area we will send warnings through text,” he said.

Pineda said flood warnings would be issued every 12 hours.

Using the geographic information system (GIS), Pineda said Pagasa would monitor areas where there is critical concentration of rainfall.

The Philippines is considered as the most disaster-prone country in East Asia.

The most recent weather disturbance to hit the country, typhoon “Frank” (international codename Fengshen), killed more than 1,000 people and damaged agricultural crops amounting to P3.3 billion.

Pagasa said about 20 tropical cyclones usually enter the country every year, 50 percent of these make landfall or cross the country.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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