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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Study shows Mindanao flooding may happen in Ilocos cities, towns

by Cristina Arzadon

LAOAG CITY, Jan. 18 (PIA) -- An environment official agrees that the devastating floods in Mindanao could happen in this city and in outlying towns because of their similarities in topography.

Juan de los Reyes, provincial environment and natural resources officer, said a flood mapping conducted by the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Geological Science (UP-NIGS) is closely similar to a geo-hazard mapping that the Environmental Management Bureau prepared.

Based on the study of UP geologists, Ilocos cities including Laoag, Vigan and Alaminos are shown to be vulnerable to disastrous floods because their topography is similar to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

In its website, the UP-NIGS flood hazard mapping showed low to high flooding risks in some villages in Laoag that run parallel to the Padsan River.

Similar flooding intensities ranging from .1 meter to 1.5 meters-deep were noted in neighboring Bacarra town where villages straddle the Bislak River.

UP geologists made use of flood simulations using rainfall brought by storm Ondoy in September, 2009. Using the Flo2d or a Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved flood routing application software, the UP-NIGS came out with flood hazard maps to alert local governments on how they could chart local emergency response and urban planning.

“These hazard maps are indicative inundation maps for large flood events and useful only for knowing where not to be during extremely heavy rainfall. These hazard maps are only as good as the topographic map base that was used in the flood simulation,” the UP-NIGS website said.

Meanwhile, De Los Reyes said a geo-hazard map that the EMB prepared showed Laoag villages namely La Paz, Tanguid, San Joaquin, San Leonardo and San Antonio as susceptible to flooding. Other towns with similar condition include Piddig, Solsona, Dingras, Marcos, Bangui and Dumalneg.

“Being low-lying areas, surface water run-off automatically drains in these towns while excess water flow there before they finally exit to the seas,” he said.

De los Reyes also blames silted rivers and creeks as contributory to flooding.

The DENR has already issued hazard maps to local governments to prepare them before the typhoon season sets in.

The maps contain a list of towns prone to flooding and landslides and include useful tips on disaster-preparedness and important contact names and numbers of authorities that residents could ask for help.

“What is important is dry running for actual disasters. We need people to be informed now because disasters could happen in unexpected moments,” de los Reyes said. (ANL/CCA-PIA1 Ilocos Norte)

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