The GeoRisk initiative: find a safe place in the Philippines
GeoRisk Philippines is a government-led multi-agency initiative to serve as the central resource of information on natural hazards and risk assessment. The project is formally known as the “Geospatial Information Management & Analysis Project for Hazards & Risk Assessment in the Philippines.”
It aims to support the country’s resiliency against natural hazards and risks. The system is to make such hazard-related information available to everyone, i.e. land developers, property owners and buyers, real-estate investors, local government units, national government agencies and communities, to allow them to plan and prepare for such natural hazards. In other words, the initiative is to locate where the natural hazards are located anywhere in the Philippines and to assess the strength of its threat. It is a data-gathering initiative. This Department of Science of Technology (DOST)-led initiative was approved by President Duterte during the 39th cabinet meeting on July 1, 2019. The app was launched on July 16, 2019.
The information can be generated by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) for seismic and volcanic hazards; and by Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for hydro-meteorological and climatological hazards. Specifically, everyone would know where hazards on volcanic eruptions, floods and landslides could possibly be located.
This initiative was led by the DOST and the Phivolcs. It is funded by the DOST and monitored by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development. Among its participants are the PAGASA, DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-MGB, DENR-National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, DND-Office of Civil Defense, and the Department of Education.
To serve as the platform of this initiative is an app or software application called Hazard Hunter Philippines. Hazard Hunter is a tool that can be used to generate indicative hazard assessment reports (Official Hazard Assessment Reports) on specific locations. A mobile app has also been developed and launched. This app was developed with the training support of the Geological Survey of Japan. This is an example of the use of technology to prepare for natural calamities. This app is available at hazardhunter.georisk.gov.ph. Users can zoom in on a specific location using GPS, coordinates or even Google maps. A visual search can also be done by zooming in on a map. Once a place is located, the app will display the hazards in that place as well as have a risk assessment report generated.
Another web application recently released by GeoRiskPH for local government units and decision-makers is the GeoAnalyticsPH: Tsunami Analytics, which is able to give summary reports on population, schools and health facilities exposed to tsunami hazards nationwide. It can also calculate the total area exposed to tsunami.
This government initiative can serve the non-life insurance industry in assessing risks for earthquake, flood, and other natural calamity-related insurance products. While not exactly providing catastrophe risk modelling, it would clearly identify risks sufficient to support initial underwriting assessments.