REVISIT the geological hazard maps distributed by the national government and use them as guide for disaster preparedness and management.
This was the appeal made by Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu to all local government units (LGUs) in the midst of the successive powerful earthquakes and incessant rains being experienced in Mindanao.
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 landslides.
“The all-important role these maps have in saving lives and properties is once again highlighted by the recent earthquakes and incessant rains being experienced in Mindanao,” Cimatu said.
Cimatu directed 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.
He referred to the geozard map as a “life-saving tool,” as he warned that the continuous occurrences of aftershocks and frequent rains “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.”
Meanwhile, 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.
The geohazard maps can be accessed on the websites of the DENR (www.denr.gov.ph) and the MGB (www.mgb.gov.ph). These maps are available in 1:50,000 and 1:10,000 scales.