While the government has yet to come up with a long-term plan to prevent flooding in the Philippines, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has launched the Flood Control Information Center (FCIC) to help the agency monitor flood-prone areas in the metropolis.
The MMDA-FCIC, which was launched on August 3, will serve as a "nerve center" for flood-control and disaster-related operations in Metro Manila.
"It's a decision support system especially for emergencies," said MMDA-FCIC head Ramon Santiago. "It collects all information regarding floods and operating systems, especially our pumping stations. We'll be able to draw in information from PAG-ASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) and information in critical areas so we can plot incidents and what is the response that we have done, and what further measures we need to do."
Monitoring will be done via more than 70 closed-circuit television cameras placed on key Metro Manila intersections, flood-prone areas and pumping stations. Images will be displayed at the MMDA-FCIC, which is equipped with 16 LCD monitors. Aside from the PAG-ASA, the MMDA-FCIC will also be connected with other international satellite-based weather monitoring services. With an incident management and map navigation software, the MMDA will collate information on flood and other disaster-related incidents. The center also has a floor map of Metro Manila and outlying waterways that will help trace communities that would be affected when water systems overflow.
"The information generated at the Center will eventually be made available to the Metro Manila local government units and the public, to guide them on what to do during emergencies," Santiago said.
MMDA spokesperson Yves Gonzales added that real-time updates may soon be available as "flood component is in the plans for the navigator." Perhaps when that happens, we can no longer complain about not being informed.