Tweaking weather alerts a priority after Usman, says disaster agency


Posted at Jan 16 2019 11:20 AM

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Making weather warnings easier to understand for the public is "a priority" for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 2 weeks after a storm that struck during the Christmas holidays emerged as one of the deadliest in 2018.

Authorities are verifying 155 deaths due to the floods and landslides spawned by tropical depression Usman in the central and eastern Philippines, said NDRRMC spokesman Edgar Posadas.

Some fatalities did not heed calls to evacuate from mountainside communities after Usman weakened into a low pressure area, the NDRRMC earlier said.

The agency is consulting communicators on how to contextualize weather warnings in a way that it can be immediately understood by the public, said Posadas.

The NDRRMC is also mulling a possible revision of the color-coded rainfall alert and tapping journalists to translate weather warnings in local dialects, he said.

"This is really a priority," he told radio DZMM.

The NDRRMC, he said, is also preparing for a low pressure area off the Pacific Ocean.

The weather disturbance may intensify into the country's first storm this year before entering the Philippine area of responsibility on Friday or Saturday, state weather bureau PAGASA earlier said.

DZMM, 16 January 2019