ADB IHE Delft Knowledge Partnership
Asian Development Bank - IHE Delft

Philippines delegation to visit Flood Resilience Conference Rotterdam

The Philippines is ranked first among the countries considered to be vulnerable to the impacts of climate-change. Since it sits between two large bodies of water: the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, the Philippines is frequently affected by tropical storms. The country is exposed to natural hazards, ranging from typhoons and floods to earthquakes, volcanic eruption, tsunamis, landslides, and drought.

In the past few years, the country has been plagued with weather disasters most notable are typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng, Sendong and most recently, Typhoon Habagat wherein the island of Luzon was inundated by intense rain and thunderstorms for an 8-day period from August 1 to August 8, 2012.  The National Capital Region, CALABARZON (Quezon, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal) and the provinces of Region 3 namely Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan were damaged due to the floods and heavy winds caused by the rains. 

On the 20th – 22nd November 2012, the 2nd European Conference on FLOODrisk Management was held at the World Trade Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands to explore research advances in flood risk analysis and innovations in flood risk management practice which can help our country tackle the various issues that are encountered during the typhoon season.

With the theme of Science, Policy and Practice:  Closing the Gap,  the conference considered all aspects of flood risk and covered the causes of floods, their impacts on people, property and the environment, and portfolios of risk management measures.

The Philippines, with the help of the Asian Development Bank and IHE Delft sent a delegation to the conference in order to learn new and/or alternative ways to deal with flooding.  The participants are as follows:

  1. Hon. Rogelio Singson, Secretary, Department of Public Works and Highways
  2. Hon. Neric Acosta, Presidential Advisor on Environmental Protection
  3. Hon. Francis Tolentino, Chairman, Metro Manila Development Authority
  4. Hon. Manuel Gerochi, Undersecretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  5. Ms. Leonor Cleofas, Assistant Administrator, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System
  6. Mr. Geodino Carpio, Operations Group Director, Manila Water Inc.
  7. Mr. Klaas Oreel, Delegation Head

The Conference, Visit New Waterway Storm Barrier, visit Deltares

The FloodRisk Management Conference was a three-day event.  With the exception of the first morning, the entire conference was made up of parallel sessions as seen in the attached itinerary.   In total, there were 34 technical sessions, 13 special sessions, 4 plenary sessions, and 3 poster sessions.  Topics included the following:  Flood Hazard Analysis, Flood Risk Management, Flood Prediction and Early Warning, Flood Consequences, Flood Event Management, Flood Defences, Governance and Policy Instruments, Inundation Modeling, and Evacuation and Rescue. 

In summary, the conference highlighted the importance of the idea of “Give Way to Water.”  This mindset is seen as an alternative to the current idea of “Fighting Nature”.   The conference emphasized the fact that we, as people who have the power and the capability to work in the area of flood management, should be mindful of working with nature.   An example given during the conference is the idea that it is no longer viewed as prudent to just only keep on increasing the height of the dikes in the Netherlands; instead, rivers should also be given wider and deeper flood planes.

The idea of “Working with Nature” has made an impact on the Philippine delegation particularly Secretary Rogelio Singson (DPWH) and Secretary Neric Acosta (Special Advisor on Environmental Protection).  They mentioned this mindset several times in their speeches during the ADB Flood Management Forum in Manila, which was held December 4-5, 2012.

During the week we spent in Holland we paid a visit to the Maeslantkering in the Nieuwe Waterweg near Rotterdam.  The Maeslantkering  is a storm surge barrier that protects Rotterdam against Force 10 to 12 storms.  The delegation was duly impressed with the high tech approach to protect the city of Rotterdam from storm surges by using this storm barrier during extreme weather events.

The delegation also visited the Deltares institute in Delft where Mr Tjitte Nauta presented the various works that Deltares is capable of doing.  The presentation was well received by the group.   Secretary Singson requested Deltares to review the Flood Management study, which was done by a Japanese consultant under the wings of DPWH and Worldbank.   It was agreed that Mr.   Klaas Oreel will follow up with both Secretary Singson and Deltares.

Click here to see the itinerary