By Benilda A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, March 4 (PIA) — The provincial government of Sorsogon and municipal governments of Irosin and Juban entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for a flood warning project along Cadac-an river stretching in two towns in the second district of Sorsogon.
Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (SPDRRMO) chief Raden Dimaano said the agreement seeks to empower local governments and communities in addressing flood disasters, enhancing their forecasting capacity and improving response capacity through early warning system.
Dimaano bared that Juban and Irosin towns topped the list of multiple hazard prone areas in Sorsogon with histories of flashflood and landslide episodes during intense rainfall. Aside from this, the two municipalities also experienced rigorous impact of Bulusan Volcano’s past activities such as lahar flows.
Mayor Jimmy Fragata of Juban said that 14 barangays with 18,990 populations along Cadacan river are affected by floods during tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall brought by Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Agricultural sector in the area is heavily damaged during floods which affects local food security.
Irosin, meanwhile, has 16 barangays with more than 35,736 populations along Cadac-an River that are vulnerable to flooding.
Fragata is however optimistic that inspired by the success story of GIZ-LFWES in Leyte Province in 2008, the LFEWS that will be replicated in Juban will surely achieve an improved institutional performance of local governments and increasing public awareness in order to save lives and minimize damages to properties and injuries to people in times of devastating floods.
Olaf Neussner, Disaster Risk Management sector chief of GIZ, meanwhile said the LFEWS recognizes that it is important to look at the whole watershed or river basin as a system to understand where all the water causing the flood comes from.
“It can reduce casualties and damages to moveable property substantially. Basically, LFEWS detects a flooding condition upstream and warns inhabitants downstream of the approaching flood,” he added.
Cadac-an river is the main river system that traverses the municipalities of Juban and Irosin. Cadac-an river is the biggest and longest river of the province and has four main tributaries and sixteen collateral feeders covering a length of 35 kilometers. This river originates from the slope of the Bulusan Volcano to the Maraot Banwa Mountain ranges and stretches to the valley floor of Irosin and Juban before it flows out to Sorsogon Bay.
Gemma Ocon, Disaster Risk Management Senior Advisor of GIZ, meanwhile during the media interaction solicited the help of the media in the communication advocacy component of the project.
GIZ representatives, together with the members of the media present, were toured by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (SPDRRMO) in the villages of Gabao, Irosin and Binanuahan in Juban showing both ends of the Cadac-an river and the devastation brought by the past typhoons and heavy flooding.
Governor Raul Lee, meanwhile, said that it is imperative to strengthen the disaster preparedness and response efforts of all LGUs in the province. “Undeniably, there is a need to forge alliances with development partners like the GIZ to prevent untimely loss of life and further damage to properties,” the local chief executive also said.
The project is supported by the European Community under the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) within the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) Action Plan 8, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).
GIZ or the German Agency for International Cooperation on the Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS) is a federally-owned enterprise that supports the German government in the field of international development cooperation.
For more than 30 years now, GIZ has been cooperating with Philippine partners in strengthening the capacity of people and institutions to improve the lives of Filipinos in this generation and generations to come. Together with its partners, they work to balance economic, social and ecological interests through multi-stakeholder dialogue, participation and collaboration. (MAL/BAR/PIA-5)