Planning for Disaster Prevention and Response in Rural Areas
In recent years, torrential rains and typhoons have repeatedly caused enormous damage to some vegetable production zones. In order to avoid the recurrence of this situation, the COA is borrowing from the scheme and data of the Disaster Prevention Information Services Network (constructed jointly by the Water Resources Agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction) to create a geographic information system for disaster prevention, disaster impacts, and disaster response that meets the needs of the agriculture sector. The system will include spatial information from important agricultural production zones, which, linked with GPS technology, will result in an agriculture-focused disaster prevention map. This will be provided to local governments for reference in making decisions about drainage system construction projects, hydraulic enginnering projects , etc. The information system will also serve as a platform for deploying rescue equipment during extreme weather events, as well as an evaluation tool for assistance, guidance, and restoration measures taken in the wake of extreme weather events.
Using the numerical results from flooding models, the agricultural disaster prevention map can be applied in many ways: (a) It can be consulted for implementation of measures taken prior to, during, and after extreme weather events. (b) It can be used by COA agencies (such as the Agriculture and Food Agency, the Fisheries Agency, etc.) for reference in the selection of agricultural production zones, in making production and marketing plans, and in understanding the status of crops in such zones. (c) It can provide local governments with information on disaster-prone areas, to help them make more appropriate policies for agricultural production and development. (d) It can help reduce susceptibility to disaster events in important crop production areas so as to reduce losses to farmers and ensure stability of supplies and prices. (e) It can simplify the process of providing guidance to farmers in applying for post-disaster relief. (f) It can provide farmers with information related to disaster prevention and post-disaster assistance, and they can use it as a risk assessment tool to make more appropriate decisions on coping with extreme weather and replanting in the same area. (g) It can be used—given the many extreme hydrological events resulting from climate change in recent years—to provide local governments with graded levels of flood risk, so that they can prioritize projects to manage drainage facilities, prepare suitable crop insurance subsidies, and minimize losses.
The agricultural disaster prevention map project is divided into three implementation phases—short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Core tasks include the following:
■ Short-term (expected to be completed by the end of 2013): To use the flooding potential map (already constructed by the water resources authorities), link it with real time rainfall information, and overlay data on important agricultural production areas to complete construction of a disaster-prevention electronic map based on agricultural needs.
■ Medium-term (expected to be completed by the end of 2014): To establish an integrated disaster prevention platform based on the needs of agriculture, including the ground value of rainfall and rainfall forecasting data from the Central Weather Bureau, and to define warning levels for different local townships based on real-time flooding potential; also, to improve hydraulic facilities and flood prevention capabilities in order to upgrade the standards for flood prevention in agricultural production zones; also, to create an embryonic integrated agricultural disaster-prevention APP, in order to provide instantaneous information for agricultural disaster prevention.
■ Long-term (expected to be completed by the end of 2016): To upgrade the functions of the integrated APP, and link this to post-disaster measures in designated cities and counties (e.g. natural disaster relief, low-interest loans, and targeted industrial guidance); also, to assess protection standards of farmland drainage designs; also, to develop modified numerical models for flooding in agricultural production zones (by continually using data on natural- disaster relief and flooding gathered by the COA’s Food and Agriculture Agency, combined with automated hydrological measurement reports from the COA’s Department of Irrigation and Engineering); also, to follow up the development of hydrological models for production zones with assessments of variations in water resources management and drainage volume during typhoon/flood periods, and to provide this information to local governments for reference in making decisions on hydraulic engineering projects (e.g. construction of pumping stations, downstream drainage facilities, flood diversion zones along rivers, etc.).