UP RI attends the Advancing Local Flood Decision-Making for Disaster Risk Reduction Project Output Presentation in Carigara, Leyte

The University of the Philippines (UP) Resilience Institute (UP RI) – Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center led the project output presentation for Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)’s Advancing Local Flood Decision-Making for Disaster Risk Reduction Project on Thursday, February 22, 2024. This event was organized by UP RI with the help of the Local Government Unit of the Municipality of Carigara (LGU-Carigara), the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), and the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO). Representatives from different barangays including the barangay captains and other barangay officers, as well as representatives from the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), are present at the roof deck conference room of the LGU-Carigara building. Aside from the officers of MPDO and MDRRMO, there are also representatives from other relevant offices such as the Municipal Engineering Office, Municipal Agriculture Office, Sangguniang Barangay-DRR Committee, to name a few, and Hon. Mayor Eduardo Ong Jr. himself, representing LGU-Carigara.

The project, led by Dr. Aaron Opdyke and Engr. Isaac Besarra of The University of Sydney (Australia), involves an in-depth study of the catchment basins located in two (2) project areas, the Municipality of Carigara (Leyte, Philippines) and the Regency of Singkil (Aceh, Indonesia). The research aims to transform disaster risk assessments by understanding how climate change impacts localized flood risk and how these assessments can be better incorporated into local planning processes, particularly in developing communities. UP RI’s involvement in the project’s data gathering, flood simulation and climate change-adjusted modeling, and hazard mapping, gave a boost in understanding disaster risk even in data-scarce environments.


EnP. Daryl Daniel Bodo, head of the Municipal Planning and Development Office, opened the program by giving a brief history of how the APN project started in Carigara, mentioning some significant milestones, and how the project has progressed since its inception. Hon. Mayor Eduardo Ong Jr. also graced the event and in his opening remarks, challenged the barangay officials to be more proactive in their local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) programs and utilize all possible data and help from the output of this project. He also thanked APN, The University of Sydney, and UPRI for all the useful output, plans, analysis, and other significant data for the municipality’s DRRM capacity-building.

 

Dr. Aaron Opdyke and Engr. Isaac Besarra presented the Vulnerability Curve Development showing how vulnerability can be used as a tool to assist in estimating flood damage for different types of houses and combining it with flood hazard maps to assess high-risk areas. Vulnerability cost was also discussed including the calculation of damage repair cost and total construction cost of structure when exposed to certain water depths. Risk assessment was also discussed in the latter part of the program where they highlighted the process of obtaining an estimated cost of damage repair and reconstruction of all affected houses per barangay and asked the barangay representatives to discuss if the estimated costs are acceptable.

Ms. Patricia Anne Delmendo presented the process of flood modeling, generating simulations, and how the flood hazard and flood depth maps of Carigara were created while Mr. Dino Evangelista presented the data gathering methodology, results of the field validation, as well as evaluation of the accuracy of the flood models when compared to the primary data obtained from the interviewees during fieldwork. Both are researchers from the Flood Modelling Component (FMC) of the UP RI-UP NOAH Center.

EnP. Arge Esquivel and Ms. April Dawn Tegelan of UP RI-UP NOAH Center’s Planning Team presented how the results can be mainstreamed into the local plans for better utilization by the LGU. They highlighted the importance of mainstreaming climate change and disaster risks in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), the functions of Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA) and Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), and other relevant concepts involved in local planning and development.

The ceremonial turnover of the Serious Game, a board game devised as a tool to expose communities to the current state of science and what climate change impacts are going to look like in the Philippines and developed by Dr. Aaron Opdyke and students of The University of Sydney, was also done during the event. It was received by MDRRMO Head, Mr. Alejo Urmeneta and other department heads of relevant offices of the Carigara LGU.

Mr. Urmeneta also gave his closing remarks, thanked all the organizations and offices involved in the project, and showed his support to the local barangays toward a better understanding and application of the flood climate models along with all other project outputs. He is looking forward to a much more effective climate change adaptation planning of the Carigara LGU and improving the disaster and risk resilience at the local level.