Thursday, January 6, 2011

DENR reminds LGUs to use geohazard maps to prevent disasters

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday reminded local government units (LGUs) to use the geohazard maps it provided last year as a guide during preemptive evacuations during the rainy season.

DENR chief Ramon Paje said the loss of lives in disaster-prone areas in the country could have been prevented if local executives forewarned residents that their places were highly susceptible to floods and landslides, as stated in the geohazard maps.

“With incessant rains being experienced in the Visayas and Mindanao in the past weeks, we expect the soil to have been fully saturated… It is a matter of time that more landslides and flashfloods would be expected in disaster-prone areas," he said in a statement issued on Thursday.

A total of 26 people have already died since last week due to floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in portions of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The rains are due to the northeast monsoon and to the tail-end of a cold front.

Paje cited the case of Barangay Bolobolod in St. Bernard town, Southern Leyte, where five people were injured in a landslide caused by heavy rains. 

He said the area has been classified by the DENR as “highly prone to landslides" as early as 2006.

“As can be gleaned in the geohazard map prepared for the area, the eastern section of Barangay Bolobolod is clearly within the landslide-susceptible area with the remaining portion of the barangay within the landslide debris accumulation zone," he said.

The DENR chief said local executives should make good use of the geohazard maps provided to LGUs early last year and redistributed to new officials after the national polls in May 2010.

The DENR, through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau, finished the geohazard mappingof 1,618 municipalities around the country last November. – VVP, GMANews.TV

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