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DENR to develop geo-hazard maps in Bicol

by MS Arguelles

Legazpi City (11 June) — The Department of Environment and natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol was recently commissioned to develop a detailed geo-hazard maps to assist government planners and policy makers in identifying areas prone to natural hazards.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has contracted the DENR to produce a geo-hazard maps detailing hazard areas prone to flooding, landslides, sea level rising, storm surge, volcanic eruptions, lahars and mud flows and other disaster events.

Social Welfare Secretary Celia Capadocia Yangco in her recent visit here said her agency has released to the DENR some P1.9 million funding for the production of geo-hazard maps covering the six province of Bicol.

The funding is intended for the production and reproduction of geo-hazard maps with scales of 1:50,000 and 1:10,000 for distribution to local government units in selected provinces and towns in Bicol, Yangco said.

The agreement between the two departments was in line with DSWD’s “Bicol Recovery Project” supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Yangco and UNDP country director Renaud Meyer recently visited Albay to inspect the core shelter, water and electric facilities projects in the resettlement sites of the province.

According to Yangco, the DENR, through its Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB), has provided some P1.6 million as counterpart fund for the project.

GB is the lead agency for the nationwide Geo-hazard Mapping and Assessment Program, which covers the production of geo-hazard maps for 840 priority municipalities.

Yangco said the technical expertise of the DENR on geo-hazard mapping and assessment, including the production of more-detailed maps, would serve as a database for planners once distributed to towns and barangays.

“The geo-hazard maps will be distributed to the lowest level of governance, the barangays, so that the communities living in these vulnerable areas will be able to manage and cope with the impacts of natural disasters,” according to Yangco.

Under the agreement, the DENR, through the MGB, will produce geo-hazard maps for Bicol’s three key cities, namely, Legazpi, Iriga and Sorsogon.

Geohazard maps will likewise be distributed to nine municipalities in the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay and Catanduanes.

Towns to be given geo-hazard maps include Pilar and Donsol in Sorsogon; Camalig and Guinobatan in Albay; and Pandan, Caramoran, San Andres, Virac, and Bato in Catanduanes. Said areas have earlier been mapped by the DENR.

The production and distribution of the large-scale maps are expected to be completed within twelve months.

Yangco explained the importance of the geo-hazard maps, saying that the capacities of barangay and municipal officers to understand and use geo-hazard maps for disaster preparedness are greatly enhanced with a geo-hazard map that show with relative accuracy ground area, rivers, lakes, roads and distances between features.

Aside from map production, the agreement also calls for the DENR to conduct trainings and information, education and communication (IEC) campaign for municipal and barangay officials, including other members of disaster coordinating councils of concerned local government units, on disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

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