PHIVOLCS recommends banning of residential houses along Mayon danger zones

UNTV News   •   January 18, 2018   •   4080

Lava flowing from Mt. Mayon

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or PHIVOLCS said the lava coming from Mt. Mayon might soon flow to different directions.

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS Officer in Charge Renato Solidum, the lava coming from the now restive volcano normally flows from the southern part of its crater since the 60s until the 80s.

However, since the crack on its crater is already healing, the lava may flow from other parts.

With this, PHIVOLCS suggests to residents to completely abandon the 6-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

This is because there might be an occurrence of frequent landslide and rockfall around the volcano which may hit the designated permanent danger zone.

The towns surrounding Mt. Mayon are Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao, Tabaco, Malilipot, Sto Domingo and Legaspi.

“There should be no houses there and just use the various ways on how to farm. But the people should stay away from those areas,” Solidum said.

However, the residents say they have no other choice but to return to their homes despite the danger the volcano poses.

“How about our livelihood? Our cows here. We know it’s prohibited. But how about our cows? We have no other place to transfer,” resident Erning Mostera said.

“When it happens, how about our livelihood?” resident Mariequeta Nemo said.

PHIVOLCS has yet to determine up to when Mt. Mayon will continue to show signs of eruption.

It can be noted that when the volcano showed signs of eruption in 2009, the evacuees were able to return to their homes only after 2 weeks to a month.

PHIVOLCS said the lava coming from Mt. Mayon is more dangerous since it’s more diluted and thus can reach farther areas. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

PHIVOLCS: Damaged structures in Itbayat may have used porous limestone

Marje Pelayo   •   July 31, 2019

Photo by Dominic de Sagon Asa

MANILA, Philippines – The municipality of Itbayat and other island towns in the province of Batanes in Northern Luzon are landmasses that emerged from the ocean, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

The area’s soil composition manifests its origin, according to Science and Technology USec. Renato Solidum.

“Doon sa Itbayat ang makikita mong mas maraming bato doon ay limestone (You notice in Itbayat, most of the stones there are limestone),” the PHIVOLCS Director said.

“Ang limestones ay galing sa corals na namuhay sa ilalim ng tubig. Kaya lang napapaangat ito dahil sa pagkilos ng fault, (Limestones are formed from corals on the sea bed. They surface to the ground when the fault moves),” he added.

In July 27, a series of three moderately strong earthquakes rocked the municipality of Itbayat – magnitudes 5.4, 5.9 and 5.8, respectively.

It was in 2015 when Itbayat experienced its latest intensity 5 tremor.

But after 60 or 70 years, it was only on Saturday (July 27) that intensity 6 was again experienced in the area.

According to Solidum, most of the houses or structures suffered damages because the materials used in their constructions were mostly limestone.

Though limestone-based structures could stand strong tropical cyclones, they couldn’t hold strong against earthquakes.

Also, some structures had no steel frames that supposedly add strength and resilience.

“Dahil ang limestone ay madaling matunaw o naaagnas habang tumatagal dahil sa ulan, nagiging marupok ang limestone, (Limestone is a porous material and easily absorbs liquid when drenched in rainwater. Limestone easily breaks),” Usec. Solidum explained.

Limestone was also traced in old churches that were destroyed during a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the province of Bohol in 2013.

Other structures that were damaged also showed traces of limestone that’s why they were not able to stand the strength of the tremors. – (MNP with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2019

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

City of Manila’s disaster resilience a ‘total failure’ – Mayor discovers

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-elected mayor Francisco Domagoso admits they are not ready in case a strong earthquake or the so called ‘Big One’ strikes the city.

“The City of Manila is not ready. On record. Sila ang may sabi noon, (That’s what they said),” Domagoso said referring to the local disaster risk reduction management officials following a meeting with them on his second day in office on Tuesday (July 2).

Mayor ‘Isko’ ordered the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) to draft a concrete disaster management plan or a detailed hazard map to prepare the city for potential dangers.

During the meeting, Domagoso discovered a lot of problems in terms of the city’s disaster preparedness and response.

The city lacks plans and programs for risk reduction management.

There are no measures in place to solve the decade long flood problems.

The city’s disaster response command center lacks equipment, the office looks shabby and neglected.

The CCTV cameras only cover areas within the city hall and Carriedo area.

Emergency personnel admitted they have no established emergency hotline and they usually use their personal numbers to contact the public in times of need.

The CDRRMO also lacks personnel and the city falls short in resources when it comes to health care.

According to the overall assessment report of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the city is considered a ‘total failure’ when it comes to disaster preparedness and response.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) noted the importance of prioritizing disaster resiliency in all of Manila especially its buildings and structures as it is a city prone to hazards.

“The biggest stumbling block would be the resilience of the structures. Iyon ang pinakaunang kailangang gawin. Ayusin ang mga pwedeng bumagsak na mga bahay (That’s the very first thing that needs to be addressed – fix the houses that are damage prone),” explained DOST Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS administrator Renato Solidum.

“Marami silang (There’s a lot of) hazards that need to be integrated in their preparedness,” he noted.

Mayor Domagoso warned to dismiss all concerned DRRMO officials if they will not act on the matter at the soonest possible time.

“I will fire you if you don’t admit that we are not ready,” Mayor Domagoso told them.

“You have to be honest with yourself. You can even challenge me at the Civil Service (Commission) if I fire you,” he concluded. – with reports from April Cenedoza

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