Know possible hazards in your area with web app ‘Hazard Hunter’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2019   •   9502

MANILA, Philippines – Want to know potential hazards within your area?

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Tuesday (July 16) launched a web application dubbed as ‘Hazard Hunter’ which provides the public with information on the possible dangers that may happen in a specific area like earthquake, flood or even volcanic eruption.

‘Hazard Hunter’ is a web-based application that can be accessed on desktop, laptop or in smart phones.

To access, just load https://hazardhunter.georisk.gov.ph/ on your web browser.

A welcome message will lead you to the Hazard Hunter official page.

You will be asked to proceed until you see the full map of the Philippines.

Click on the menu bar then several options on the type of hazards that may be present in your area will appear – seismic for earthquakes, volcanic for volcanoes and hydro-meteorological for flood and storm-related hazards.

Click on the type of hazard then select an area by pointing the cursor to the place of inquiry on the map.

Double click on the area of choice.

The system will immediately load the results that will flash on the right side of the screen.

For instance, Baseco compound in Manila has a population of about 60,000 people.

Based on the app’s reading, Baseco is about 12 kilometers away from the West Valley Fault.

Residents in Baseco may feel ground shaking of up to intensity 8 once the West Valley Fault moves in an event called the Big One.

The area is prone to liquefaction and could suffer from up to four-meter-high tsunami as it is near Manila Bay.

Based on the app, Baseco is less likely to be affected if ever the nearest active volcano, Mount Taal in Batangas, erupts.

Taal Lake is about 58 kilometers away from Baseco.

Baseco is a flood-prone area and floodwater can go as high as two meters and can take up to three days to subside.

During the onset of a severe tropical cyclone, the area could suffer from storm surge as high as 4 meters.

But there is no possibility of a landslide in the area.

The app also has detailed recommendations or suggestions for a plan of action during a specific hazard.

Science and Technology Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum believes ‘Hazard Hunter’ will enable the public to prepare and plan ahead of a natural disaster.

Government agencies will also be guided for appropriate actions to be taken to minimize or prevent the loss of lives and damage to properties.

“Hindi naman masama na may hazards diyan. What is important is that the hazard is recognized so that the developer can develop approaches to lessen the impact, to mitigate the possible impact,” Solidum noted.

Solidum said even his own house sits on a location that is hazard-prone but recognizing the dangers enabled him to plan for his and his family’s protection.

“Tinaasan ko yung bahay. Ginawa kong three floors para hindi ako mamatay sa baha (What I did was I elevated my house. I made it into three floors to keep me safe from the flood),” he said.

“Inayos ko yung foundation ng building para sa shaking ng liquefaction. So mga ganung klaseng real life application magagamit (ang Hazard Hunter) (I aligned the foundation of the building in case of shaking during liquefaction. During those real-life applications, [Hazard Hunter] can be useful),” he added.

Before the end of the year, PHIVOLCS plans to launch the mobile version of the website. – with details from Rey Pelayo

Lifesaver tips: What to do if someone is having a stroke

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide.

In its report, the WHO said that of the 56.9 million deaths worldwide in 2016, stroke and Ischaemic heart disease accounted for a combined 15.2 million deaths.

A stroke occurs when there’s bleeding in your brain or when blood flow to the brain is blocked or limited.

Its risk factors include having high blood pressure, had a previous stroke, smoking, diabetes and heart disease. A person’s risk of stroke also increases with age.

A stroke is a true emergency that needs quick action.

When a person is having a stroke, every second counts and quick intervention may increase a person’s chance of survival and reduce the risk of long-term disability.

Strokes, depending on its severity, can carry a number of sudden, telltale signs, including:

  • Drooping on one side of the face
  • Difficulty in lifting of one or both arms to its full weight
  • Slurred or difficulty with talking and understanding speech
  • Loss of vision
  • Difficulty in walking, dizziness
  • Loss of balance or consciousness

The WHO said that having sudden severe headache with no known cause is another potential sign that one might be having a stroke.

According to UNTV’s Lifesaver program, a bystander should use F.A.S.T to help remember warning signs in the event of possible stroke:

  • Face. Does the face droop on one side when the person tries to smile?
  • Arms. Can the person lift his/her one arm to its full weight?
  • Speech. Is the person having a slurred speech or difficulty with talking and understanding speech?
  • Time. If you observe any of these signs, immediately call a local emergency number.

What should you do while waiting for the emergency medical service to arrive?

  • Remain calm. Talk to the person and reassure him or her that help is on the way.
  • If the person is conscious, gently place them into a comfortable position but do not try to move them any further.
  • Do not give them any food or liquids.
  • Note the person’s symptoms and look for any changes in condition. Also try to remember the time when symptoms started. It is important to give the emergency medical responder as much information as possible about the person’s situation.
  • If he or she falls unconscious, monitor their airway and breathing by lifting the person’s chin and tilt their head slightly backward. Look to see if their chest is moving or listen for breathing sounds.
  • If there are no signs of breathing, start performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

During a medical emergency situation, always remember to stay focused and take action quickly.

Watch these episodes of Lifesaver below for more information on the early signs of stroke:

Taal Volcano status lowered to Alert level 2 – Phivolcs

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020

Aerial photos Taal Volcano eruption aftermath epa08135676 Handout aerial photo provided by the Office of Civil Defense shows the Taal Volcano crater in Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines, 17 January 2020. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has kept the alert level at four, following the volcano’s eruption on 12 January 2020. EPA-EFE/OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday downgraded Taal Volcano’s status from alert level 3 to alert level 2 following indications of decreased unrest in the recent weeks.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said it lowered the alert level status of Taal Volcano after three weeks due to less frequent volcanic activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak steam or gas emissions at the Main crater.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” it said.

Alert Level 2 means there is decreased unrest, but State volcanologists said this should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.

The agency also reminds the public that at alert level 2, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the volcano island and its coast.

It also advised that entry to the Taal Volcano Island – a permanent danger zone – shall remain prohibited.

“Local government units are advised to additionally assess previously evacuated areas within the seven-kilometer radius for damages and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

“People are also advised to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall, and minor earthquakes. Communities beside active river channels particularly where ash from the main eruption phase has been thickly deposited should increase vigilance when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall since the ash can be washed away and form lahars along the channels,” it added.

Civil aviation authorities are also advised to direct pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and wind-remobilized ash may pose hazards to aircraft.

Phivolcs said alert level 3 may be raised again should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn a potential eruption.

On January 12, Taal Volcano spewed kilometers-high ash plumes which prompted state volcanologists to raise its status to alert level 4. Thousands of residents within the 14-kilometer radius from the main crater were ordered to flee their homes due to a possible hazardous eruption.

Two weeks later, Phivolcs downgraded Taal’s status to alert level 3, which allowed displaced residents outside the seven-kilometer danger zone to return to their homes.

PHIVOLCS mulls lowering alert level over Taal Volcano

Marje Pelayo   •   February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has observed the waning volcanic activities in Taal Volcano.

Although volcanic earthquakes can still be felt around Taal, they are less frequent and less intense according to DOST Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS-OIC, Renato Solidum.

Sulfur dioxide level has also been low in the past days, Solidum said.

Sa 101 earthquakes, may 4 na low frequency earthquake events. Ito yung paggalaw ng magma o hindi kaya ay pagkilos ng gas, (Of the 101 earthquakes, only four were low frequency earthquake events. These could be the movement of magma or emissions of gases),” he said,

Ito ay nangangahulugang mayroon pang magma activity sa paligid ng Taal volcano (This means there is still magma activity around Taal Volcano),” he added.

PHIVOLCS, likewise, is considering the trend of ground deformation or “swelling” of the volcano in its decision to downgrade alert level over Taal which remained at Alert Level 3 since January 26.

Ang aming alam ay nagsa-subside na siya kung ito ay magpatuloy ay baka mai-consider na natin na magbaba tayo ng alert level, (Based on what we observed, (activities) have subsided and if this development continues, we may consider lowering our alert level),” Solidum said.

Solidum clarified, however, that Taal Volcano Island will remain a permanent danger zone even after they downgrade the danger status to Alert Level 2.

To date, residents are still barred from returning to houses within the 7-km radius as risk of explosion remains high.

Meanwhile, those who were allowed to return home are advised to check their structures and do the necessary repairs as occasional ground shaking poses threat of collapse or more serious damage. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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