PH, Australia launch Greater Metro Manila risk maps
MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) in the Greater Metro Manila area received on Thursday hazard and risk assessment maps to help improve plans in disaster risk reduction and management.
An average of 87 maps for each of the 24 LGUs were turned over by officials from the Australian and the Philippine governments at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The detailed maps show information on population, infrastructure, and other area characteristics of communities to help authorities assess disaster risk. It also indicates risks for disaster scenarios like earthquakes, typhoons and floods.
“The local government units and the local chief executives must know the hazards and risks in their respective communities. Records have shown and past experiences have proven – from Ondoy, Pepeng, Habagat, Maring, and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol last Tuesday – that disaster can strike anywhere. Measures must be taken to reduce vulnerabilities and to minimize threats,” said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario.
The maps and database may also be used to help improve land use, contingency plans and targeted investment programs.
“We may not be able to prevent disasters, but we can empower ourselves to prevent lost lives and further deplete our economic resources,” del Rosario said.
The maps were launched through the “Risk Analysis Project”, a three-year collaboration of the Australian Government aid program with Geoscience Australia, the Philippines’ Office of Civil Defense, and other agencies including Phivolcs and PAGASA.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said the maps can now be used to help authorities prepare for disaster scenarios, which are expected to get worse “due to changing climate patterns and the rapid urbanization in GMMA.”
“Natural hazards, however, do not have to lead to disasters especially if we are able to carefully assess the risk of an area and properly plan for the long-term. But we can only do that if we have the data,” he said.
The public can assess comprehensive risk assessment maps covering the Greater Metro Manila Area through www.geoportal.gov.ph.