City undertakes hazard mapping

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BAGUIO CITY – A hazard mapping is underway to pinpoint structures erected on top of sinkholes in critical areas in the city.

City Planning and Development Officer Evelyn Cayat said the mapping project currently being undertaken by the city government in coordination with other agencies is pursuant to a city council resolution calling for the determination of danger zones in the city for mitigation.

Cayat said the city has an existing hazard map but this particular project intends to identify the exact structures sitting on danger zones.

When completed, the results will be collated and disseminated primarily to the affected structure owners to undertake mitigating measures or to evacuate the properties if necessary.

The inspections are conducted by the technical working group composed of the City Engineering Office, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Deparment of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the City Planning Office.

In the hazard map, 14 barangays were identified to be prone to sinkholes: Irisan, City Camp Central, Lower Rock Quarry, Pinget, Bakakeng Central, Dontogan, Sto. Tomas Proper, Asin, Dominican Mirador, Lourdes Subd. Ext., San Roque Village, Middle Quezon Hill, Quezon Hill Proper and Upper Quezon Hill.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan has been discouraging residents from building their houses and structures on these sinkhole-prone sites.  He said those whose buildings sit on these zones should be wary of the condition of their lots and should undertake remedial measures or vacate the place especially during the typhoon season.

The city is considered as one of the places in the country that are susceptible to sinkholes.

A blog report last April quoting the MGB-DENR said, “Sinkholes are quite common in Baguio City, which also has at least seven known faults and numerous areas vulnerable to landslides. Landslides could be triggered by an earthquake or continuous rainfall, which can also cause sinkholes to wreak havoc. Because Baguio has one of the 10 highest daily rainfall records in the world and is visited by an average of five cyclones in a three-year period, landslides and sinkhole-related mishaps are givens.”

The perils of sinkholes in the city have been highlighted in the city in the aftermath of the July 16, 1990 earthquake and typhoon Feria in 2001. – A Refuerzo

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