RP geohazard map completed next year

THE GOVERNMENT expects to complete its nationwide geohazard mapping by the middle of next year, the Environment department said in a press release yesterday.

"In the wake of a series of typhoons we are experiencing right now, which definitely have increased their intensity not only in terms of wind velocity but also in the amount of rainfall, we need to work overtime so that we can help save more lives," the statement quoted Environment Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. as saying.

Risky areas

The geohazard mapping and assessment program, which is handled by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), involves the identification of areas susceptible to landslides, floods, liquefaction, ground subsidence and other soil instabilities.

The 1:50,000-scale geohazard map will be completed by next year, while the more detailed 1:10,000-scale map and assessment will be completed much later.

Vital information

Mr. Atienza also ordered the MGB to communicate the results of its mapping to all covered local government units (LGUs) down to barangays, "so that we can bring vital data and information to the concerned LGUs and all other government agencies involved in disaster relief, mitigation and risk management, and land use planning and development."

As of July, the Mines bureau had completed the geohazard assessment of 1,348 cities and municipalities, or more than 82% of the total target of 1,618, and covering 73 of the country’s 79 provinces.

Mr. Atienza said the department expects to complete 90% of the geohazard mapping project by the end of the year, including the eastern seaboard beside the Pacific Ocean that bears the brunt of most storms as they hit land. The eastern seaboard consists of Aurora, Sorsogon, Leyte and Surigao islands.

To date, the provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Kalinga and Apayao have yet to be covered by the geohazard mapping, given peace and order problems and terrain difficulties. — NJCM, Business World

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