By Susan G. De Leon
QUEZON CITY, Nov. 4 (PIA)--The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is calling on all local government units (LGUs) to strengthen their disaster prepared and management by using the geological hazard maps distributed by the national government.
This, after the successive powerful earthquakes and incessant rains being experienced in Mindanao.
In a statement, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said it is highly imperative for LGUs, especially those in Mindanao, to take a look at the geohazard maps prepared by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and take note of areas declared as highly susceptible for flooding and landslide.
“Those maps are very useful when it comes making plans for disaster management as it identifies various areas that are susceptible to floods, landslides, liquefaction and other ground instabilities such as vulnerabilities to earthquakes,” Cimatu said
“It also determines possible settlement sites, properties and infrastructures that are most likely to be affected by the disaster,” Cimatu added.
The DENR chief had already instructed the MGB to ascertain that all local government officials have copies of the geohazard maps, including those who were elected for the first time in the May 2019 polls.
Cimatu referred to the geohazard map as a “life-saving tool,” as he warned that the continuous occurrences of aftershocks and frequent rain shower “could aggravate things.”
Around 200,000 maps, at a scale of 1:10,000, have been produced and distributed to LGUs, national government agencies, schools, and civil society groups and private organizations engaged in disaster mitigation and relief activities.
A total of 1,618 municipalities nationwide were covered by the MGB’s geohazard mapping program.
Cimatu has ordered the MGB to double its efforts in updating the maps, especially in areas that have been recently hit by typhoons and earthquakes.
“Earthquakes and rains are a deadly combination,” Cimatu pointed out. “Mountainous and hilly areas that experience earthquakes and intense rainfall render these areas highly susceptible to landslides,” Cimatu said.
MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano said that teams of geologists and mining engineers were immediately dispatched to areas affected by the earthquakes and typhoons to conduct Rapid Damage Assessment (RDA) activities.
RDA aims to identify landslide areas and new landslide-prone areas that may have formed as a result of the earthquake and typhoon.
“Five RDA teams are now working in Region 11 and five RDA teams in Region 12,” Moncano said.
Aside from MGB personnel, also part of the RDA teams are engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways and members of the concerned local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.