Friday, 30 October 2009

PGMA message on the Preparation on Typhoon Santi

Japan, Australia beef up Pagasa's weather forecasting

fter being battered by consecutive tropical cyclones in recent weeks, the governments of Japan and Australia have extended technical and system support for the country's weather bureau.

Japan will extend a Y3.350-billion (P1.7449 billion) grant to the Philippines for Doppler radars and other equipment to improve Philippine weather forecasting capabilities.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura signed an agreement for the grant at the Foreign Affairs Department in Pasay City Friday.

The "Improvement of the Meteorological Radar System" project will involve the replacement of the three existing Meteorological Radar Systems in Aparri, Cagayan; Virac, Catanduanes; and Guian, Samar, with new Doppler (S-band) radar systems.

According to the DFA, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration will implement the project.

For its part, the Philippine government welcomed the Japanese assistance package as "timely and useful" for the country.

The Philippines is still reeling from the destruction caused by tropical cyclones Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma).

Last March 30, Romulo and Katsura exchanged the notes on the project’s detailed design, worth Y23 million (P11.98 million).

Meanwhile, the Australian government has given a P17-million grant to Pagasa for the development of a "Tropical Cyclone Early Warning System."

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said Australia will work closely with the Philippine government to improve the tracking and accuracy of tropical cyclone forecasting.

"The loss of life and damage caused by recent typhoons, not just in the Philippines but also across Southeast Asia, is a tragic reminder of how prone our region is to natural disasters," Smith said.

The development of the Tropical Cyclone Early Warning System would improve the tracking and accuracy of tropical cyclone forecasting including the position and intensity of a storm as well as enabling the verification of forecasts after the event.

Pagasa chief Dr. Nilo Prisco said the enhanced system would aid them forecast in real time. It would also help improve and enable a faster delivery of warnings through an automated delivery system for fax, E-mail, Internet and short messaging system (SMS).

Australia had already provided approximately P230 million in humanitarian aid and emergency assistance in response to natural disasters in the country since 2006. - with Joseph Holandes Ubalde, GMANews.TV

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