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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesSaturday, February 18, 2012
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Vigilance urged
against landslides

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Director, Renato Solidum, is warning about the possibility of more landslides in Negros Oriental, saying conditions there raise the chance for such occurrence.

"The combination of rainfall and aftershocks reinforce the possibility for landslides there," he said.

He gave the warning as Negros Oriental authorities reported rainfall in the province this week from the low pressure area (LPA), which the government weather agency estimated at 130 kilometers east-northeast of Palawan province's Puerto Princesa City as of 2 a.m. of Thursday.

Guihulngan City Mayor Ernesto Reyes had earlier said about 29 people in his area of jurisdiction are believed to have been victimized by the landslide there.

La Libertad Mayor Lawrence Limkaichong Jr. also said about 40 people might have been buried alive by the landslide in his municipality.

Phivolcs reported recording as of 8 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2012 a total 1,714 aftershocks that followed last week's earthquake in Negros Oriental.

"Aftershocks there continue but are subsiding," Solidum noted.

He said aftershocks are a natural occurrence as geologic adjustments happen beneath the ground.

Solidum clarified the aftershocks in Negros are no longer destructive but can trigger possible landslides there.

Occurrence of rainfall exacerbates conditions in the province and increases the possibility for such disasters there, he added.

In its 7 a.m. Feb. 17, 2012 report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said available data on the LPA show the entire Philippines "will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms, becoming widespread rains over Palawan, Visayas, Central and Western Mindanao which may trigger flashfloods and landslides."

"Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast and east will prevail over Luzon and Visayas and coming from the east to southeast over Mindanao," NDRRMC continued.

NDRRMC also said coastal waters nationwide "will be moderate to rough."

Earlier, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje cautioned people about rain, saying this can help create conditions ripe for disasters.

Solidum reiterated his call for people to regularly undertake earthquake drills and to ensure compliance with the National Building Code, noting the country can expect experiencing a big earthquake anytime already.

He said scientists can't predict when the 'big one' will occur so the best course of action is to enhance earthquake preparedness.

DENR reported its Mines and Geosciences Bureau completed in 2009 the geological assessment of Negros Oriental.

"In its report, DENR identified five barangays in Guihulngan City with high susceptibility to landslides: Humayhumay, Imelda, Mabunga, Sandayao and Tacpao," the agency said.

Barangay Binobohan has moderate to high susceptibility while villages with moderate susceptibility include Bakid, Banwaque, Calamba, Calupa-an, Linantuyan, Mabunga, Maniak, Plagatasanon, Planas, Trinidad and Villegas, DENR noted.

For La Libertad, DENR said villages assessed as having high landslide susceptibility are Aniniaw, Aya, Biga-a, Guihob, Kansumandig, Mambutod, Managondong, Pangca and Pitogo while Mandapaton village has moderate to high susceptibility.

"The remaining 11 barangays of the municipality that have moderate susceptibility include Manluminsag, Busilak, Cantopa, Elecia (Talostos), Eli Manghulyawon, Martilo, Nasungon, San Jose, Solongon and Tala-on," DENR added.*PNA



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