Professor Alfredo Lagmay, professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) National Institute of Geological Sciences and executive director of the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH), received the 2015 Plinius Medal from the European Geosciences Union for his “outstanding interdisciplinary natural-hazard research and natural-disaster engagement in the Philippines, particularly with respect to volcanic hazards, earthquakes, typhoons, landslides and floods.”
Lagmay is a leading international scientific expert on natural disasters. He led the study on the geological hazards of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was used as scientific basis for the deliberations on the rehabilitation of the mothballed nuclear plant.
He also presented the technical arguments of the Philippines’ successful claim on the Benham Rise region to the United Nations Commission on the Law of the Sea. Many of the geological arguments used to support this claim are found in articles he published.
He has extensive first-hand experience in search and rescue and forensic analyses of major Philippine catastrophes, including the lethal floods of Mindoro, Iloilo, and Pampanga, the Guinsaugon landslide, the Mt. Mayon lahars, and the typhoons Ondoy, Pedring/Quiel, Sendong, Habagat, Pablo and Yolanda.
He has led the Geohazard Subteam of the UP Padayon Disaster Response Team, a multidisciplinary group formed to provide aid and service to the area hardest hit by Typhoon Washi.
Through Project NOAH, Lagmay’s team was able to forecast the storm surge during the Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) supertyphoon, thereby significantly mitigating loss of life.
Project NOAH, a flagship program that his team created in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, works with government agencies in the use of advanced science and technology to enhance disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines.
More information on NOAH may be found on its website.
Lagmay has received numerous awards in the Philippines including the Presidential Citation for Search and Rescue Work in Guinsaugon and the 2013 Outstanding Filipino Award.
The Plinius medal has been established by the European Geosciences Union Natural Hazards Division to recognize interdisciplinary natural hazard research.
From 2002 to 2011, the Plinius medal was awarded to young scientists. Henceforth, it was given to mid-career scientists with outstanding research achievement in fields related to natural hazards, important interdisciplinary activity in two or more related fields, and research that has been applied in the mitigation of risks from natural hazards.
(Article based on the write-up on the European Geosciences Union website.)