Project NOAH or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards was born in the aftermath of Typhoon “Sendong” in 2011 when former President Benigno Aquino 3rd called for “a more accurate, integrated, and responsive disaster prevention and mitigation system, especially in high-risk areas throughout the Philippines.” It was launched in July 2012 in Marikina City.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had three ongoing DOST-funded independent projects related to disaster – ClimateX, Weather Sensors Development, and Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation or DREAM. These were consolidated, and were added to three other projects – Storm Surge (under PAGASA), Landslide and WebGIS.
These projects were approved and formed Project NOAH with Dr. Mahar Lagmay as executive director. They shared data and became the core of DOST’s flagship program, the Disaster Risk Reduction/Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA) which then DOST Secretary Montejo called the NOAH Program.
It also worked with the DOST through PAGASA, PHIVOLCS, and Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) in partnership with the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences and the UP College of Engineering.
This program, with a budget of P6.4 billion, was beefed up with 19 components, including the original six projects plus DREAM-LiDAR, 3-D Mapping, FloodNET, Landslide Sensors Development, and Hydro-Met Sensors Development. All of these had starting and completion dates.
Most component projects were completed in December 2015, including Project NOAH, hence it was expected to transfer to PAGASA all the technologies it had developed. By 2016, the transfer could not be completed so Lagmay proposed ISAIAH or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards: Integrated Scenario-based Assessments of Impacts and Hazards, which was approved in March 2016.
Toward the end of project ISAIAH, Lagmay requested extension up to November 11, 2016 having not completed the transfer that the DOST recognized, citing the value of the experts trained under Project NOAH.
A transition project under Pagasa will absorb many of the Project NOAH personnel, in line with the recently passed Pagasa Modernization Law.