Legarda says awareness of colors key to gov’t geohazard maps | Inquirer News
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Legarda says awareness of colors key to gov’t geohazard maps

/ 10:45 PM January 16, 2013

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—An appreciation of color matters when it comes to disaster response.

Sen. Loren Legarda said Filipinos should learn what the color codes in the government’s geohazard maps mean so they can gauge their vulnerability to disasters.

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Legarda, who was in Pangasinan on Tuesday for a public hearing on disaster preparedness, said the maps would guide people and government planners on the safety of certain areas when they build houses, buildings, roads and bridges.

These color-coded maps, prepared by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), will also direct people to areas where they can seek refuge when calamities strike.

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Carlos Tayag, MGB Ilocos director, said the color codes for landslides are red for highly susceptible areas, green for moderate susceptibility and yellow for low susceptibility.

For flooding, he said residents should know that purple means that an area is highly susceptible, while cream means the area has low susceptibility to going under water.

Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change, said the geohazard maps have been existing for years but these were not being effectively used by local governments.

She said the importance of geohazard maps hit home last month when hundreds of residents of Barangay Andap in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, died because they were herded by local officials to the barangay hall, which was eventually swept by flashfloods triggered by heavy rains dumped by Typhoon “Pablo.”

“What the [officials] 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 taken 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. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Disaster response, geohazard maps, Loren Legarda, MGB, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
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