Last night, Manila fell once again. Drowned after 10 to 15 mm per hour of rain poured down the capital. Tropical Storm Falcon was far off at sea. It was Falcon pulling in monsoon. Pretty much, productivity, and health go down the drain when the capital goes under water.
A LOT has changed at PAGASA. In fact it is way better now at communicating information to the public. A LOT still needs to change. We still need the weather bureau for instance to be able to translate the scientific data into real world language. And more importantly, I think the weather bureau needs to be able to determine the amount of rainfall that would strike any part of the country.
We need to be able to focus on saying 10 to 15 mm is expected in 3 hours, or in a day. Is that do-able? Is it a matter of getting the right equipment? The right gear? Is it a matter of getting more experts in the field to do this?
Knowing the rate of rainfall will give the MMDA some idea of what sort of traffic is going to come. It gives the PNP and LGUs and disaster relief teams some idea of what equipment they’ll need and where to deploy. It gives the DepEd and universities an idea whether classes should be suspended or not. It gives offices an idea when to send their employees home to work from home.
We’re talking about billions of pesos in productivity lost every time the country’s capital sinks. We’re talking about people getting sick, or worse get caught up in flood and swept by a manhole. We’re talking about infrastructure development that we could tailor to meet the demands of the times. And it isn’t just in the capital, this could be applied across the country.
We need to invest on this, and invest on this as soon as possible. PAGASA is our first line of defense in a nation that gets 15 to 20 storms a year. It doesn’t have to be an Ondoy level typhoon— even this monsoon is packing more trouble than a storm.
Let’s also try to get more people to telecommute. Let’s get more people to hold meetings over Skype or some other voice over IP. Let’s get to use technology to make productivity better. That means better, faster Internet as well. In a country that gets this sort of weather year-in and year-out we have to find ways to keep creating money, and keep working while the elements are against us.
Let’s give PAGASA all the tools they will need, and all the funding they will need because this really translates to so much more— health of children, safety of our people, and productivity for our economy.