AUSTRALIA COMMITS PHP17 MILLION TO ENHANCE PHILIPPINES' WEATHER FORECASTING SYSTEM
The Australian Government is providing a Php17 million (A$455,500) grant to enhance weather forecasting in the Philippines and help the country better prepare for natural disasters.
The funds, to be provided through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will be used to improve the weather forecasting capacity of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
The Philippines is one of the most natural disaster-prone countries in the world. Almost every year many lives are lost and families displaced and damage to agricultural crops and infrastructure amount to billions of pesos. In 2008 alone, the two typhoons ‘Cosme’ and ‘Frank’ affected almost five million people and caused approx Php7.5 billion (A$197 million) worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.
“As a regional neighbour and key development partner, Australia is helping improve the Philippines’ preparedness to manage and respond to disasters and emergencies. The poor are the most affected by natural disasters. Through AusAID, Australia works in partnership with the Philippine Government, as well as other donors, international and local organisations, to address the impacts of these crises and disasters on vulnerable populations,” Australian Ambassador Rod Smith said.
This contribution to the Enhancement of Tropical Cyclone Early Warning System project will enable PAGASA to use the Tropical Cyclone Module technology from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
At present the Philippines weather agency uses eight (8) different numerical weather prediction models to track tropical cyclones and forecast their intensity. These models are sometimes difficult to interpret, affecting the quality of forecast decisions and timeliness of warnings.
The new technology will enable the weather agency to better analyse these different models, as well as enhance the mapping of storm signals and storm surge inundation. The technology will also provide weather forecasters with better data and visual tools during tropical cyclones, allowing PAGASA to issue early warnings on tropical storms more quickly and efficiently to emergency stakeholders and threatened communities.
Australia has provided almost Php100 million (A$2.5 million) in humanitarian and emergency assistance to the Philippines in response to a number of natural disasters since 2006. AusAID also partners with the Philippines on disaster related activities including strengthening community-based disaster management and hazards mapping.
In 2008-09 the Australian Government will provide an estimated Php4.4 billion (A$109.3 million) in development assistance, focusing on economic growth, basic education, and national stability and human security.