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(UNESCO / Japan Young Researchers' fellowships programme)

An appropriate flood monitoring and warning system for Myanmar

Summary of research carried out: 
An appropriate flood monitoring and warning system for Myanmar

Background

Flooding has always been one of the major hazards in Myanmar. Floods in previous years caused widespread damage in rural and urban areas and set back the country's efforts to alleviate poverty. The impacts of floods are expected to worsen as the vulnerability of Myanmar to natural disasters increases, owing to factors including poverty, growing lack of environmental soundness, weakness of technologies, institutional factors and climate change and variability. Developing countries such as Myanmar are exposed to flooding problems more than developed countries and there is an urgent need for flood monitoring, control and warning systems.

Research goals

  1. To study all related flood early warning systems in developing and developed countries.
  2. To find out appropriate ways of overcoming the weakness of the existing system.
  3. To identify all appropriate technologies which can be applied in a proposed early warning system in Myanmar.
  4. To introduce new methodology which can be adopted in Myanmar.

Problems

  1. Deficiencies in the accuracy and reliability of the monitoring of hydrological data and forecasting.
  2. Insufficient lead time for flood warnings.
  3. Limited coverage.
  4. Flood warning not understandable by many potential users.
  5. Inadequate coordination and feedback.

Proposed methodology

The proposed system is intended to use the appropriate and available wireless technology-based infrastructure for a flood monitoring and warning system in Myanmar, particularly in remote areas. The system is designed as a wireless sensor network for monitoring the necessary hydrological information, and a mobile communications network with a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) for transmitting the data collected and a Short Message Service (SMS) for safeguarding citizens in potential flood areas.

Expected results

  1. The system will be able to provide more reliable and accurate hydrological data for all flood-prone areas.
  2. It will be able to prepare more useful flood forecasts for those areas.
  3. The system will disseminate response-oriented and timely flood messages.
  4. It will promote awareness in the community before and after flooding.
  5. The system will act as a sustainable and well-oriented early warning system for floods in Myanmar.

Conclusion

Flooding is one of the natural disasters which occur in Myanmar in every year. Flood forecasting and the issuing of flood warnings are effective ways to reduce damage. The proposed system will be efficient because it has better coordination of monitoring, communication and transmission technologies which are adaptable to background conditions in the country. The proposed system also ensures increased accessibility for assessment of emergency situations and enhances effectiveness and efficiency in responding to catastrophic incidents. In summary, the proposed system would be beneficial to the community for decision-making and evacuation planning purposes.