TACLOBAN CITY-A study identified the disaster and hazard prone areas in the city and paved the way for the preparation of maps for areas that are vulnerable to fire, flood, and typhoon.
The maps will guide local policy makers and executives in determining priority projects and serve as tool for better disaster management and adaptation.
The fire hazard map developed for the purpose showed that out of the city’s 138 barangays, 83 are very highly hazardous, 12 are highly hazardous, 32 are hazardous to a medium degree, and 11 are hazardous to a low degree.
The classifications made were based on the high frequency of fire occurrence in a particular barangay, presence of access roads, number of houses and their distances, as well as the building materials used.
With regards to fire vulnerability, the study identified those structures where large group of people usually gather. These include churches, shopping centers, schools, hospital, business establishments and government offices and facilities, among others.
The flood disaster map showed areas where floods constantly happen even with only short heavy rains. These areas include those low-lying areas with no proper drainage and areas along shores, rivers, creeks, and swamps.
The study further showed that areas that have 10 meters elevation and 500 meters distance from the shore and river buffer of 500 meters on both sides are vulnerable to floods.
There were some areas in Tacloban City though where floods do not occur like the elevated areas in the northern barangays situated in the mountains and hills.
To solve the problems as reflected in the maps, the researchers from Eastern Visayas State University who conducted the study, recommended certain measures. These include the provision of roads for urban poor communities and the widening of existing ones to allow passage of fire trucks during fire.
They also suggested the conduct of regular inspection of fire hazards in every home by residents, fire safety drills, inspections of flooded areas to identify causes, construction of drainage facilities, and even the construction of dikes or seawalls, among other measures
These information, which find importance in recent environmental disasters, were taken from the 2009 Highlights, a publication of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD). (Ricardo R. Argana, S&T Media Service)