MGB-Bicol for Albay villagers relocation in landslide-safe area

Rescuers gaze at the desert-like landslide area in Manito, Albay, where a happy community of rural folks used to live, but are now gone.. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

Rescuers gaze at the desert-like landslide area in Manito, Albay, where a happy community of rural folks used to live, but are now gone.. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

LEGAZPI CITY, 27Jan2015 (PNA) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) Bicol regional office has recommended the relocation of some 92 families living in the landslide and mudflow-stricken Sitio Inang Maharang. Barangay Nogotgot, Manito town in Albay.

Arlene Dayao, supervising geologist and MGB Geosciences Division chief, said her office had recommended the transfer of the affected families in Purok 6 and 7 in Sitio Inang Maharang due to the occurrence of landslides and mudflows every time heavy rains take place.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Dayao said a team of geologist that made a field investigation found out that the major cause of the landslide was the softening of soil on the mountain slopes triggered by heavy rains during bad and stormy weather.

The village is situated at the foot of the Puctol mountain ranges where extensive landslide happened, she said.

In 1994, at least 18 people in the village died and hundreds of houses were buried due to a landslide caused by Typhoon “Akang” that battered Albay.

This incident was duplicated by similar incidences in 1995 and 2008.

Dayao said although the village where the houses are located are situated at a distance from the mountain slopes, it is prone to debris flows.

She said the MGB’s disaster risk maps indicate that the village has been identified as a high risk area for landslide and mudflow.

The MGB official disclosed that their investigation showed that the landslide incident on Sunday was triggered by the heavy rains brought by storm “Amang.”

“It was a natural cause that the heavy downpour indeed caused the softening of the soil of the 820-meter high mountain, triggering a 2.4-kilometer avalanche at the slope,” Dayao said.

She added that pyroclastic materials emitted by volcanos along the Pucdol mountain range were found at the landslide and debris flow site.

She said the landslide was located at the Pucdol mountain ranges where nine inactive volcanoes lie.

“That’s the reason why the Bacon-Manito area is rich in geothermal resources,” Dayao claimed.

During an aerial inspection conducted earlier, Dayao and disaster authorities of Albay found out that a huge volume of water and debris that flowed from the mountain slopes affected some 70 hectares of farm lands in the village, some 15 kilometers from Manito town proper and one-and-half hour ride from this city.

As this developed, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said in a text message said that he had asked the MGB for a comprehensive report on the major causes that led to the landslides in Manito.

He said that based on the MGB fact-finding recommendations, “we will draw up possible solutions.”

Dayao dismissed earlier reports that the geothermal operation of the Energy Development Corp., (EDC) might have something to do with the landslide incident last week.

Earlier, affected residents of Sitio Inang Maharang barricaded the front gate of the EDC gate, preventing employees from entering the compound.

According to reports, the residents were blaming the EDC operation for the soil erosion.

The EDC is a geothermal firm operating the Bacon-Manito Geothermal (BacMan) plant in the boundaries of Bacon District, Sorsogon City and Manito town in Albay.

Residents alleged that the waste materials from the EDC BacMan construction were the major factor that caused the avalanche on Sunday last week.

Dayao said the local government unit of Manito is finalizing negotiations for the purchase of a five-hectare lot in the town to be used as relocation site.(PNA)

Posted by on January 27, 2015. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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