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Visualising flood depths and velocities in the Marikina, Philippines

The Philippines Department of Science and Technology has instigated The Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) programme to help understand and manage this risk, using the Flood Modeller 2D solvers.

The Philippines are particularly prone to catastrophic flooding, with a highly vulnerable population. In 2011 alone, flooding killed over 1,500 people and caused $600m damage.

The country is frequently hit by extreme rainfall associated with tropical storm systems. Two of the most recent, severe tropical storms are Ondoy (which killed 464 people in Manila and caused $250m damage) and Sendong (with over 1,200 deaths and $50m damage).

These storms often produce rainfall depths of over 200mm (400mm recorded for Ondoy in a suburb of Manila). The development of the Philippines and the future prosperity of the population are significantly affected by the impacts of floods like these.

The NOAH programme will collaborate with government agencies to promote and integrate science and technology to enhance disaster management and prevention capacity of the Philippine government.

It includes the use of laser scanning for topographic mapping, flood hazard modelling and forecasting, and communication of information and warnings to government agencies and communities at risk.

The NOAH flood risk mapping team is using our software to develop flood risk maps for all river basins and coastal areas in the Philippines. Our software tools, including the integrated map interface, allow models to be built quickly. This allowed the modelling teams to hit their target of an initial national flood risk assessment in just two years.

Visualisation tools in our software allow flood depths and velocities to be viewed with background mapping to provide context and assess risk to buildings and occupants. Flood extents are also being exported for viewing in Google Earth.

The NOAH team is also using our 2D FAST solver for real time surface water forecasting. The FAST solver allows rapid assessment of surface water flooding, typically within a few minutes for a whole catchment.

Topography is pre-processed into surface water catchments, into which a grid of depths from rain radar is input. The result is a map of surface water flooding available in real time.

This means the NOAH programme can in the future develop real time maps of potential surface water flooding in urban areas for warning and disaster management.

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