UP geologists tapped to check GenSan’s vulnerability to landslide, flooding

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Jan) – The city government has tapped geology experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) for a comprehensive study on the city’s landslide and flood-prone areas.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the study will mainly involve an in-depth assessment of the vulnerability to landslide and flooding of key areas traversed by the Makar River, which is one of the city’s major tributaries.

He said the study will take about six months or 180 days and will be conducted by geologists from the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS).

“This initiative will further enhance the city’s landslide and flooding susceptibility information,” he said in a statement.

The mayor said the study will be carried out by the UP-NIGS in coordination with the RD Foundation, General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GSCCCII) and the local government.

He said GSCCCII will fund the study, which will cost P3 million, while the RD Foundation will handle the accommodation and other logistical needs of the UP-NIGS team.

A briefer released by the city government said the study, which will be assisted by personnel from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, will cover a seven-kilometer stretch of the Makar River, starting from its estuary.

Based on a memorandum of agreement signed last November by the city government and UP-NIGS, the latter will bring in specialists who will conduct hydro-geologic and hydrographic studies on the Makar River to determine its vulnerability to flooding.

UP-NIGS experts will also evaluate the city’s vulnerability to landslides and other related hazards.

It said the study will give particular emphasis on the possible effects of these natural phenomena to the city and its development plans with the integration of various climate change scenarios.

Profiles on Makar River’s average depth, sediment thickness and flow rate, which are key factors for flooding, will be provided by the study.

The UP-NIGS experts will also conduct an inventory of local flooding events as well as morphometry, geomorphic evolution and bathymetry studies.

The mayor said they pushed for the conduct of the study to strengthen the local government’s efforts to develop the city as a disaster-resilient locality.

He said the initiative is expected to updated and augment flood susceptibility data on Makar River released by the Department of Environment of Natural Resources’ Mines and Geoscience Bureau in 2005.

“We are very aware of the changes that Makar River has gone through in the past decade as caused by natural and man-made factors and other detriments. We expect that this study will guide the city as to what to do to protect our constituents living beside the river,” Rivera added.

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