Philippines Deploys Landslide Sensors

Philippines - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will deploy locally-developed landslide sensors in risk areas around the country in preparation for possible calamities during this year's typhoon season.

DOST Undersecretary Graciano Yumul, acting chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), revealed that the government has chosen 2 villages in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte as pilot areas for the landslide sensors.

Yumul said that the subsurface detector, which will serve as an early warning device for landslides, was developed by the University of the Philippines and that 8 more landslide sensors will be deployed in selected landslide-prone areas in 4 provinces after the installation in Saint Bernard.

If the sensors pass the test, he said the DOST will "roll out" more sensors in all identified landslide-prone areas around the country.

He said the sensors' deployment should be finished before the typhoon season in the country starts in June.

In 2006, more than a thousand people were killed after a massive landslide buried the whole Barangay of Guinsaugon. During the same year, a mudslide caused by heavy rains also killed hundreds in the Bicol region.

He said PAGASA fears that majority of the typhoons in 2011 would be stronger compared to those of previous years because of the prevailing La Niña phenomenon.

Yumul said the La Niña is expected to end by May, but will continue to affect the Philippines until August this year.

"Starting June, that is typhoon season. Stronger and more frequent typhoons in 2011," he said.

Continuous rains triggering floods and landslides in 9 regions have killed 47 people and displaced more than 1.3 million people.

Stating that aside from flooding, people living in typhoon risk areas also suffer from landslides, Yumul declared that the DOST will also install automatic weather stations in Saint Bernard.


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