PHIVOLCS to set up tsunami detection and warning system in Corregidor Island
THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), both agencies under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will set up a Community Tsunami Detection and Warning System in Corregidor Island before the end of January to serve its Manila Bay coastal communities.
The system is a Grant-in-Aid project of the DOST titled “Establishment of a Cost-Effective Local Tsunami Early Warning System for Selected High-Risk Coastal Communities of the Philippines” or TeWS. It aims to provide coastal folks with a reliable yet cost-effective device for tsunami forecast via real-time information and signals that allow Local Government Units (LGUs) to implement appropriate disaster response in affected areas.
Aside from its efficiency and low-maintenance quality, the technology is designed by local scientists and experts from DOST, ASTI, and PHIVOLCS, thus proving the Filipino’s ingenuity and world-class capability in developing sustainable and technologically sound solutions to national problems.
The tsunami detection equipment is composed of a platform with a pole to which different sensors are attached: the ultrasonic tide sensor which notes the rise and fall of the sea level, dry sensor which determines whether water has receded immediately after a large earthquake thus indicating a very high possibility of tsunami occurrence, and wet sensors installed at heights of 1m, 5m, and 10m, which detect if tsunami water has already hit the pole. The sensors at the tsunami detection site communicate all signals to alerting sirens using GSM-communication developed by ASTI. Experts from both the PHIVOLCS and ASTI designed the sensors and the whole system.
The two DOST attached agencies are now in the process of selecting which communities within the Manila Bay cluster will pilot the tsunami alerting sirens.
Last December 14, DOST, together with PHIVOLCS and ASTI, test launched the complete set of detection and warning equipment for its Lingayen Gulf cluster at the Bolinao School of Fisheries in Bolinao, Pangasinan. The five pilot alerting sirens are located in barangays Gueset, Pugaro, and Binloc in Dagupan City, barangay Poblacion in Bolinao, and barangay Poblacion in Lingayen. PHIVOLCS and ASTI are now waiting for the LGUs to submit their evacuation plans based on hazard maps provided to them.
Aside from the Manila Bay and Lingayen Gulf clusters, the project covers three other clusters: Albay Gulf, Subic Bay, and Lubang Island in Occidental Mindoro. Under the plan, each cluster will have one detection system composed of an ultrasonic tide sensor, wet and dry sensors, as well as five pilot coastal communities for alerting sirens.
Alerting sirens in three project areas namely Albay Gulf, Lingayen Gulf and Subic Bay clusters are now operational.
Meanwhile, representatives from PHIVOLCS and ASTI have begun communicating with Occidental Mindoro LGUs regarding the installation in Lubang Island. Talks with Batangas City authorities are also set to commence before the end of January. Located south of Occidental Mindoro across the Verde Island Passages, Batangas City, along with neighboring coastal communities, is expected to greatly benefit from the project.
Project leaders also plan to coordinate with local agencies such as NAMRIA (National Mapping and Resource Information Authority) regarding the TeWS initiative.