Tacloban builds hazard map for disaster planning

By Alexander Villafania

TACLOBAN CITY, LEYTE – Tacloban City has built a disaster map based on a study by the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) showing areas that are prone to fire and flooding.

The disaster map is part of efforts to improve Tacloban’s disaster preparation and coordinating capabilities.

Separate maps were developed for each of the disaster types, namely fire, flooding, and typhoons, based on the results of the study which was conducted from 2007 to 2008. The goal of the study was to create new tools for the city to manage disasters as well as highlight the facilities that need to be strengthened or improved.

The fire hazard map showed that 83 out of 138 barangays are “very highly hazardous”, 12 are “highly hazardous”, 32 are “hazardous to a medium degree”, and 11 are “hazardous to a low degree”.

The study, led by Curso Fe Tambis, identified those structures that are vulnerable to fire are those where large group of people usually gather. These are churches, shopping centers, schools, hospital, business establishments and government offices and facilities, and similar locations.

The flood disaster map also show areas frequented by floods despite having only short, heavy rains. Low-lying areas with no proper drainage and areas along shores, rivers, creeks, and swamps are most prone to flooding.

In addition, the study concluded that vulnerable areas are those within 500 meters distance and 10 meters elevation from the river shoreline.

Certain areas in Tacloban City did not experience flooding, particularly areas in the elevated northern barangays along mountains and hills.

The EVSU recommends that certain measures must be undertaken to reduce vulnerabilities. These include the provision of roads for urban poor communities and the widening of existing ones to allow passage of fire trucks during fire.

The team that did the study also suggests having regular fire hazard inspection in residential locations, as well as fire safety drills. Inspection of flooded areas to identify causes, construction of drainage facilities, and even the construction of dikes or seawalls, were also recommended.

The report was submitted to the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Research and Development (DOST-PCARRD).

***

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