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SU addresses the Ocoy River flooding with findings and recommendations

By Deogracia William A. Bemida | News Editor

Vol. XCI No. 10

Nov. 22, 2019

On October 14, mayors and representatives from the local government units of Dumaguete, Sibulan, and Valencia gather in Silliman Hall to know the findings and recommendations of the researchers by the study on Ocoy river flooding.

The Ocoy River caused floods which resulted in numerous deaths, injuries, and destruction of property. To avoid the unwanted results, the researchers composed of the teams of Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, Dr. Enrique Oracion, Dr. Robert Guino-o, and Dr. Dave Marcial started the research project entitled “A Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Settlement Behavior and Resilience of Households and Businesses Along Ocoy River.”  

The research team started the study for about a year and a half ago intending to build resilient riverside communities. Different research teams from multiple fields collaborated into this project each fulfilling their task.

Supported by the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc., the team gathered data from the respondents, worked closely with the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices, and held numerous consultations with the stakeholders. 

Dr. Jorge Emmanuel of Silliman University’s Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences and College of Engineering and Design and his team made models of the Ocoy River Basin with the use of open-source software. They made recommendations such as reforestation, forest protection, and bioengineering approaches (Planting of bamboo and vetiver grass along river banks), and the possible use of flood retention basins upstream.

The riverside inhabitants and businesses within the area of Ocoy river answered the social survey questionnaires made by the team of Dr. Enrique Oracion, the Director of Research of Silliman University. Dr. Oracion associates the results with the concept of “sense of place” as explained by him, this perception allows the people to stay in the area without minding the risk of danger.

A team led by Dr. Robert Guino-o facilitated the training programs of first aid response and water sampling. They found out that the dumping of human and animal waste caused the high levels of coliform bacteria to present within the water, and during a flood, these spreads widely.

The compilation and visualization of data was the task of Dr. Dave Marcial, Dean of Computer Studies. During the event, Dr. Marcial introduced a new mobile web application that provides information and early warnings of the flood to the nearby residents and businesses. 

“We are introducing a new application called Siren, which was developed by our students. It has an information board, early warning, and incident reporting system,” announced by Dr. Marcial. 

Dr. Betty McCann, the President of Silliman University presented the written recommendations to the mayors of Dumaguete, Valencia, and Sibulan.

“The university is committed to supporting the efforts of Dumaguete, Sibulan, and Valencia in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation,” Dr. McCann said. “We hope they will adopt the recommendations and will benefit from the capacity building activities provided by the project team as we work together to make our communities more resilient to climate change.”


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