Time is running out for Project Noah. The Philippine Government has finally decided to pull the plug off its flagship disaster management initiative. This is due to lack of necessary funds to maintain its operations. Project NOAH, or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, was a major project created by the country’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Executive Director Mahar Lagmay broke the news on January 29. He said that the program will only run until February 28. He also said that they were informed that their motion to extend their operations has already been rejected.
Rappler reported that Lagmay and his team was informed verbally that their request for extension will not be approved. He regrets that the said announcement came almost one month before their last date of operation. What he regrets most is that the documents needed to be signed for transferring funds to UP where they are detailed takes a lot of time. Therefore, he estimates that it might take more than two to three months before the scientists and researchers will get paid.
Furthermore, he warned that his fellow scientists who serve as working force of the project received their compensation after five long months. This is after their proposal has been disapproved. He also felt sad that the delay had to sacrifice 40 well-trained, skilled, and experienced scientists who were fired. In 2014, the salaries were delayed by three to four months. He also questioned the authorities how they think the people will provide for their families. He also clarified that the issue is not something new because the previous Aquino administration already informed them that they no longer have funds to operate even during that time.
According togov.ph, Project NOAH serves as DOST’s response to former President Benigno S. Aquino III’s call for a “more accurate, integrated, and responsive disaster prevention and mitigation system.” This system was developed to cater especially 2in high-risk areas throughout the Philippines. In October 2016, Project NOAH has been instrumental in warning areas that were hit by Typhoon Lawin which has a strength of Signal No. 5.