INFRASTRUCTURE- oriented think- tank has called on housing agencies to suspend all socialized housing projects in geohazard areas to prevent landslide incidents similar to what recently happened in Itogon, Benguet and Naga City, Cebu.
The aim, according to Infrawatch PH, is to prevent the unfortunate loss of lives, limb and property in the event natural disasters strike on areas already deemed as geohazard areas by our disaster agencies.
In this particular concern, taking no chances is a no- brainer. Our housing agencies should find alternative sites for socialized housing, if several projects are found to be located in geo- hazard areas. If costs for land acquisition will rise due to alternative sites, we are certain the President and Congress will heed requests for higher subsidies if only to ensure the safety of our families.
Is it true that several projects were allowed to proceed pending the implementation of engineering solutions to confront geo-hazard issues such as flooding? It should be noted that not all geohazard issues can be resolved by engineering solutions, particularly areas prone to landslide YOU and liquefaction. In areas prone to landslide and liquefaction, engineering solutions may be insufficient to address inherent problems existing in such sites.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should ensure that the evacuation centers it plans to construct will be built on safe areas and are structurally sound.
As early as 2016 DPWH identified 190 school sites that are often used as evacuation centers and they were proposing to build evacuation centers within or near the school facility. The evacuation center can also be used as an expanded multi-purpose area.
We must ensure that these evacuation centers will be built on safe areas, avoiding hazard-prone areas as seen in the geohazard maps, and using green design, including a water catchment facility. There is a need to ensure that evacuation centers, and all infrastructure for that matter, are disaster-resilient; remember, even the evacuation centers were not spared from the wrath of typhoons such as “Yolanda.”
The resilience of our buildings and infrastructure is crucial in disaster risk reduction. We prevent or lessen deaths and damages from typhoons, earthquakes and other natural hazards with structurally sound infrastructure.