DENR tells LGUs: Use geohazard maps to strengthen disaster management

Robie de Guzman
Government troops and civilians work together during the retrieval operations in Barangay Ucab, Itogon, Benguet.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reminded local government units (LGU) to use geological hazard maps as a guide to strengthen their disaster preparedness and management.

The DENR made the call following strong earthquakes and incessant rains being experienced in Mindanao.

In a statement, DENR Secretary Roy 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 landslide.

He said the continuous occurrences frequent rain shower “could aggravate things” in parts of Mindanao that are still reeling from aftershocks.

“Earthquakes and rains are a deadly combination,” Cimatu said. “Mountainous and hilly areas that experience earthquakes and intense rainfall render these areas highly susceptible to landslides.”

The DENR chief said he had instructed the MGB to ensure that all local officials have copies of the geohazard maps, including those who were elected for the first time in the May 2019 polls.

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 also ordered the MGB to double its efforts in conducting rapid damage assessment, as well as updating the maps, especially in areas that have been recently hit by earthquakes.

The MGB said it has deployed teams to Mindanao to identify landslide areas and new landslide-prone areas that may have formed as a result of the recent disaster.

The geohazard maps, which are available in 1:50,000 and 1:10,000 scales, can be accessed on the websites of the DENR and the MGB.

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