Community leaders taught to use online hazard maps 

KEVIN MORILLO VIA PGQ

VILLAGE leaders from different parts of the country were given orientation on the use of online hazard maps through a private sector-led program aimed at strengthening disaster preparedness and management at the community level.   

“There are hazard maps available, it’s important that (village leaders) use them to identify the potential risks that some locations have,” Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, a disaster scientist and pioneer of the hazard mapping tool from the University of the Philippines (UP), said during the Barangay Resilience Exchange organized by Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Inc. 

The forum, held Oct. 13-14, was attended by disaster resilience experts and village leaders from 400 cities and municipalities.   

“Much of our attention is placed only after the disasters happen, what we should do really is to take early action, (like) years before the hazards strike,” Mr. Lagmay said.   

He added that the general public should also be encouraged and taught to use the map.  

The UP Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (UP NOAH) Center created an online hazard mapping tool that can identify risks in specific locations.   

“These hazard levels are based on flood simulations, satellites and historical data,” UP NOAH Center Chief Science Research Specialist Joy T. Santiago said.  

Ms. Santiago demonstrated to the participants how to use the hazard maps from the website. 

She noted that there are water level sensors in sync with the site that can assess the amount of rainfall. 

Information on hazards relating to floods, landslides, and storm surges are also indicated for specified areas.  

“We can use this tool to prepare for a disaster response for our constituents,” she said. “This, along with the mandate of the center, can promote disaster resilience.”  

A barangay is the smallest administrative unit in the Philippines. It’s elected leaders are considered frontliners of government.  

The center has also taught village leaders how to identify early warning signs of landslides to avoid deaths and curb potential damage. — Kyanna Angela Bulan