MGB allots P400M for completion of geohazard maps by 2014

Rappler.com
Part of the budget for 2014 will also be used to procure 15 new ground penetrating radars that will map geohazard zones

NEED FOR MAPPING. Geohazard mapping can help identify where it is safe to build infrastructure. File photo of Palo, Leyte by EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

MANILA, Philippines – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said on Saturday, November 30, it will be alloting P400 million out of its 2014 budget to complete the much-needed geohazard maps by next year.

The Senate approved the bureau’s proposed 2014 budget of P1.09 billion – significantly higher than last year’s P800 million – allowing MGB to purchase equipment and implement projects next year.

MGB Director Leo Jasareno said geohazard consciousness can reduce fatalities during natural disasters. (READ: Moving forward: Planning for floods through online maps)

“If people are conscious about geohazard, fatalities in times of natural disasters would be greatly reduced,” Jasareno said.

In Tacloban City, one of the areas badly-battered by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) which hit the Visayas on November 8, the MGB will continue mapping no-build zones. Mapping will also commence in other coastal areas where erosion is likely. (READ: Leyte reconstruction: MGB maps ‘no build zones’)

The bureau already began the mapping of geohazard areas in 1,034 cities and municipalities, and will soon complete the project by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the detailing of 600 cities and municipalities is expected to be finished by 2014.

MGB has contacted private geological surveyors to speed up mapping.

Another project of the bureau for 2014 is the hydrological assessment project which will involve scouting for aquifers, a body of saturated rock through which water can easily move.

“We only have two main sources of water: rain and ground water. If we look for more aquifers, we can increase water supply,” said Jasareno.

GPR

Part of the budget next year will also be used to procure 15 new ground penetrating radars (GPRs) that will map geohazard zones or areas prone to flooding and landslides due to rain.

GPRs enable geologists to ascertain, without drilling, what type and strength rocks are below the ground – much like how an x-ray works.

The country has but one functioning GPR currently being used by a 5-man team of government geologists in mapping possible sinkholes in Bohol, where the epicenter of October’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake was located.

These equipments will allow completion of geohazard maps with a scale of 1:10,000 – more detailed maps that will replace those with scales of 1:50,000 currently used by cities and municipalities.

Every region will be allocated one ground radar, each amounting to around P6 million. – Rappler.com