The DOST-UP Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program is a cutting-edge research project in the Philippines, one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. The country is hit by around 20 tropical cyclones or typhoons every year, with widespread flooding, death and destruction setting back development. In the face of climate change, such events are expected to increase in both number and intensity. The goal of DREAM is to minimise the impact and enable resilient communities to rise above disasters.
The government-funded programme, implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman, College of Engineering, works at the interface of science, technology and social science, bringing on board people and communities to bolster disaster preparedness planning and response. It uses state-of-the-art scientific tools to map flood hazards, notably Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), to generate high-resolution, detailed, and up-to-date elevation maps for major river systems. It has been focussing on 18 of them, representing one third of the country in areas with historic flooding, and has been slated for nationwide expansion to 257 more river basins. Through its website, www.dream.upd.edu.ph, DREAM also provides the public with information tools that better advise them of impending river flooding. DREAM’s forecast system serves as an early warning mechanism, right down to the level of individual streets.
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