Philippine Geohazard Map
January 22, 2012 by staff
Philippine Geohazard Map, Very soon, with the click of a mouse, you may access the government’s geohazard maps and tell if it’s time to move out because you live within a danger zone.
Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) has agreed to upload on its Web site, www.essc.org.ph, the geohazard maps of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau for everyone to see and heed, and avoid becoming a statistic in an avoidable disaster, officials said Saturday.
This will be launched before the end of the month, MGB Director Leo Jasareno said.
“We just want to raise the awareness of everyone on disasters such as floods and landslides. We want to reach out to the LGUs and the people; we want to maximize the use of the information to the lowest unit of society given the technology,” he said in a telephone interview.
The ESSC is a Jesuit research organization that promotes environmental sustainability and social justice through the integration of scientific methodologies and social processes.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN and GMA News have been furnished digital copies of the maps, and agreed to upload these on their Web sites or portals, too, according to Jasareno.
In the aftermath of last Thursday’s landslide in Compostela Valley that killed at least 28 people and the Dec. 16 flashfloods and mudslides in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities that left a death toll of more than 1,000, the existence of the geohazard maps has come to the fore anew.
The issue is not whether the local government units used the maps, but whether they heeded MGB’s recommendation to move residents away from mountain slopes and near rivers and waterways, Jasareno said.
“It was partially implemented. They forced the evacuation of people from danger areas, but after some time the people went back,” he said of Pantukan, the site of last Thursday’s landslide in Compostela Valley. “If the maps were followed, we would not have had casualties.”
In the geohazard map, the color-coded natural hazards-landslides, floods and flashfloods-are superimposed on the topographic map of the Philippine, from the province down to the municipal and barangay level, according to Jasareno.
“You can access it anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. It’s viewable, printable and downloadable for free,” he said. “Where you’re staying, you can tell which hazards your barangay is vulnerable to.”
So there won’t be any more excuses for public officials and even residents to ignore the map and its recommendations, he added.
The geo-hazard mapa, which take up 60 gigabytes and covers 700 sheets, has a “high resolution” unlike the map currently posted on MGB’s Web site www.mgb.gov.ph, Jasareno said.
The maps could come in handy in weather forecasts. TV or online news could flash the geohazard maps of provinces, towns or barangays that are in the path of a storm and vulnerable to either landslide or flood, and promptly warn people, he said.
“They can be used interactively,” he said.
The maps are on a scale of 1:50,000 (1 cm in the map corresponds to 500 meters on the ground). The MGB is magnifying the maps to a scale of 1 to 10,000 (1 cm is to 100 meters on the ground), he said.
Jasareno said the maps are “lifesavers” but would be effective only they are actually heeded.
“Our maps are straightforward, scientific and technical. But beyond the maps are the social issues that the local officials have to deal with. They have to evacuate hundreds of people. We can make recommendations but these require resources,” he conceded.
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