Portraits of Resilience: Community-based Early Warning System

In 2006, a landslide in Barangay Guinsaugon in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte killed more than a thousand people. The event underscored the municipality’s vulnerability to multiple hazards and the urgent need to improve preparedness. Thus, prompted Saint Bernard’s creation of an early warning system (EWS) for floods, tsunamis, and landslides.

Through the collaboration of the municipal LGU, government agencies, civil society organizations, and community members, a community-based EWD was instituted. The result was an end-to-end and landscape-wide system that made use of technology (such as gauges for rain and flood levels), a promoted collaboration between stakeholders, and encouraged community participation.

In 2013, Saint Bernard’s community-based local flood EWS was recognized by the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction for its innovative approach that combines technology and comprehensive social preparation. It was one of six projects from around the world shortlisted for the award.