#ProjectAgos: DILG officials tackle use of technology in disaster preparedness
MANILA, Philippines – MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, presented before officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government's (DILG) the Project Agos disaster information platform on Wednesday, July 9. Project Agos promotes the use of technology and social media for better disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).
Presented in the Manila Social Good Summit in November 2013, Project Agos is a climate change and disaster information system that "combines top down government action and bottom up civic engagement" to help build resilient communities.
Operated by MovePH, Project Agos will help local government units (LGUS) in harnessing technology to maximize the flow of critical data before, during, and after a disaster. Its microsite features 3 components that include the following information:
- PREPARE - Weather alerts, climate change and disaster stories, practical tips, case studies on best practices, hazard and risk maps
- RESPOND - Disaster Information Map (reports of public infrastructure damage, flood, rescue needs, relief needs); partners are given access to running list of incidents
- RECOVER - Stories of resiliency and recovery and best practices
Disaster alert map
Zak Yuson, director of MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm talked about the need for better coordination between local government, the public, and civil society to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery and how Project Agos fills this gap.
Rappler's research and content strategy head Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza demonstrated the new features of the Project Agos Alert map and how this helps local governments ensure the safety of its residents.
The alert map includes hazard maps from various agencies and other critical data and information. The system also gathers actionable real-time reports from netizens that can be viewed by LGUs and first responders.
MovePH coordinator and multimedia reporter Voltaire Tupaz presented the project's partnership program, announcing the series of workshops that will be conducted across the country starting in August.
The workshops will train local disaster managers and responders on the use of technology, social media, and crowdsourcing in disaster management.
New challenges, new tools
The regional directors acknowledged the need for new tools and technologies in addressing the worsening effects of climate change and disasters.
DILG undersecretary Austere Panadero, who facilitated the event, said most local government units (LGUs) encounter problems in making critical information (i.e., evacuation centers, prepositioning of relief goods) accessible to the public.
Another problem is the need for "more eyes and ears on the ground," Panadero added.
Panadero added that Project Agos can help the national government monitor what LGUs are doing on the ground to prepare for or respond to disasters.
LGUs can integrate Project Agos in their DRRM plans and use the paltform before, during, and after disasters.
Role of media
He also stressed the role of media in raising awareness on disaster preparedness at the community level.
"How do you explain preparedness to a Grade 4 student or barangay (village) captains from far-flung areas?" he stressed.
The DILG officials gathered in Quezon City from July 7 to 9 to discuss local plans for disaster preparedness. – Rappler.com