‘Colors’ can save lives – Loren

January 24, 2013 at 8:34 am Leave a comment

LINGAYEN – Colors can save lives and lives during calamities.
That is, if one knows what the colors represent in the geohazard maps prepared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Sciences Bureau which show where it is safe and unsafe to build houses and infrastructure, and where seek refuge when calamities strike.
MGB Ilocos Regional Director Carlos Tayag said the color codes for landslides are red for highly susceptible areas, green for moderate susceptibility and yellow for low susceptibility.
For flooding, residents should know that violet means the place is highly susceptible while cream means the area has low susceptibility to going under water.
Senate committee chair on climate change Loren Legarda was here on Monday for a public hearing on the maps attended by local officials, businessmen, farmers and other sectors.
She said the devices have been existing for years but were not being utilized by the local governments probably because they were not aware of the tools.
“Thus I took it upon myself to bridge the gap between the MGB and the LGU about the maps,” she said.
She said, joking, that the colors looked like political colors with the yellow as being low susceptible to landslide. Yellow is the color of the Aquino Administration.
Legarda said the importance of the geohazard maps hit home when hundreds of residents of Andap, New Bataan died because they were herded by the mayor to the barangay hall which went under high water at the height of typhoon Pablo in December 2012.
“What the mayor did not know was the hall was in an area coded purple (highly susceptible to flooding) in the geohazard map. Thus where the residents were brought was where they died. It is sad because if only they were given a copy of the map, and they underwent workshops (on how to read the map), they would have been saved,” Legarda said.
She added that she could be the “missing link” between the MGB and the LGU as regards the geohazard maps so that local officials would know where to put up halls, schools and other buildings, and know the safe areas where to bring would-be victims of calamities.
Legarda gave copies of the geohazard maps of each town to local officials of Pangasinan, the third province where she distributed the maps last week after Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental which were hard hit by typhoon Pablo.
“Our citizens have the right to know if they are living in landslide or flood-prone areas. Everyone from public servants to members of youth should be equipped with this knowledge. Through this, we should be able to radically minimize the casualties and damages when a natural hazard strikes,” she said.
Legarda said she had been advocating climate change adaptation even before Metro Manila was devastated by typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and typhoon Pepeng inundated Pangasinan that same year.
“Pero hindi pinapansin kasi hindi sexy, hindi politically exciting, until the super typhoons hit the country,” she said.
Department of Education Pangasinan I Supt. Alma Ruby Torio also asked copies of the devices to be put in the schools for the students to know if their areas are prone to natural disasters.
Tayag said the geohazard maps identified area which are susceptible to various natural hazards and provide information to stakeholders for them to mitigate the impacts of the calamities.
The maps are based on topographic maps, geologic maps, aerial photos, satellite images, technical reports and newspaper accounts.

Entry filed under: News.

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