GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 July) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 is targeting to complete before yearend its vulnerability risk assessment (VRA) for disasters that might affect the region.
Dr. Sabdullah Abubacar, DENR-12 regional executive director, said the ongoing assessment focuses on the potential impact of the occurrence of floods, landslides and other related disasters to communities within the region’s 45 municipalities and five cities.
He said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-12, which implements the project, already completed the VRA or hazard exposure mapping in 35 localities.
“We intend to finish the remaining 15 (localities) this year,” Abubacar said in a press conference in Koronadal City on Thursday.
He said the completion of the mapping, which aims to capacitate communities to their adaptation to geologic hazards, is currently among their top priorities as set by their central office.
DENR-12 had identified at least 341 of the region’s 1,194 barangays as highly prone to flooding while 218 are at risk to landslides.
The flood-prone areas cover 179 barangays in North Cotabato and Cotabato City, 73 in Sultan Kudarat, 69 in South Cotabato, and 20 in Sarangani.
Of the landslide-prone areas, 57 barangays are located in South Cotabato and this city, 57 in Sultan Kudarat, 53 in North Cotabato, and 51 in Sarangani.
Constancio Paye Jr. MGB-12 regional director, said the VRA is the continuation of the geohazard mapping conducted by the agency in all cities and municipalities in the region.
He said they had distributed geohazard maps with 1:50,000 and 1:10,000 scales to all local government units (LGUs), focusing on the determination of flood and landslide susceptibility.
A project briefer said the VRA or risk exposure maps identifies identify barangays with the most number of people who might be affected by specific geohazards, proper locations as well as the most appropriate alternate traffic routes and pre-positioning areas for recovery and relief operations.
“We did not stop with the identification of the areas at risk to hazards but we’re also looking into the population, especially the number of families, which might be affected in case of disasters,” Paye said.
The official said these “geologic reports” are intended as planning tools that may be used by LGUs in updating their disaster management plans.
In the case of infrastructure situated within high-risk areas, he said these will assist local governments in determining the extent of vulnerabilities and the proper responses.
Paye said LGUs would be guided if they need to opt for the immediate relocation of the affected structures or the implementation of mitigating engineering interventions and other adaptation mechanisms. (MindaNews)