Twenty MOSES tablets, or the Monitoring and Operating System for Emergency Services – the first of its kind in the Asian region - were turned over to Marikina City last June 9, 2014 at the Marikina City Freedom Park to help enhance the disaster preparedness of its barangays and prevent casualties from floods in the event of strong typhoons.

The MOSES tablet is an 8-inch Internet-based, two-way communication tool between warning agencies and disaster responders. It was developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

According to Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) Director Alfredo “Mahar” Lagmay, two-way communication is essential in mitigating the impact of disasters.

The MOSES tablet can receive real-time weather and flood information from pre-installed mobile applications such as PAGASA or the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration; DOST’s Project NOAH; and ARKO which provides detailed flood maps.

Using the tablet, a barangay disaster officer or captain can go around the community to take pictures of evacuation centers, schools, hospitals, lifeline services, and others. The images are then uploaded via 3G or WiFi on the Project NOAH website map and are automatically geo-tagged to provide disaster responders a more visual map of the area in relation to available facilities, or lack thereof, during disaster preparedness.

In the event of a typhoon, the tablet can also be used to monitor water level in the rivers as soon as a storm signal is raised in the community. Photos of flood levels can also be sent to national warning agencies and the Project NOAH team for data verification and search-and-rescue operations.

Furthermore, the tablet has television and radio functions with a battery that could last for three days.

The tablets will be given to each of the 16 barangays in Marikina. DOST is set to hand over additional units of the MOSES tablet to other cities and municipalities in the country as it was able to fabricate the first 50 units. It is targeting a total of 42,028 barangays to have their own MOSES tablets.

Marikina as its first recipient

With MOSES as the first two-way disaster communication platform in the region, Marikina becomes the first local government to have this groundbreaking technology.

In 2009, Marikina was badly hit by Typhoon Ketsana also known as Ondoy, where a month’s rainfall poured in less than 24 hours of torrential rain, producing around 78 feet of floodwater. Typhoon Ondoy resulted in 464 deaths in Marikina alone in which 80 percent of the area is considered flood prone due to the Marikina River system.

In 2011, DOST launched Project NOAH and made Marikina City as its test site. A year after, during the August 2012 Southwest Monsoon or Habagat, Marikina River swelled in 68 feet of floodwater. However, this incident was subdued by the zero casualty situation posted by the city, considered as one of the breakthrough achievements of Project NOAH. The city achieved this by taking heed of Project NOAH’s warnings and implementing early evacuation of the local communities. (S&T Media Service)

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