About 63 sitios in 24 barangays in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental are either categorized or rated as high to very high to landslides and flooding in a 1:10,000-scale geohazard assessment and mapping.

The assessment is in line with the government’s efforts aimed at reducing, if not, totally mitigating, the damaging effects and impacts of natural hazards to the communities.

Of the 33 barangays in Guihulngan City, 24 barangays or 73 percent are critically or highly landslide and flood-prone.

“Our assessment on these barangays confirmed our previous appraisal in 2009 in a scale of 1:50,000, although we now have the information on the sitios that may be most likely affected,” said MGB 7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo.

He added the difference between the two scales as the 1:10,000 provides the detailed or specific data per sitio. The other scale provides the information per barangay.

A team of seven geologists composed of MGB Central Office and Regional Office led by Dr. Karlo L. QueaƱo conducted a three-day field assessment to also follow up the 2009 1:50,000-scale report, from April 12 to 14.

The results of the investigation also showed 57 sitios were classified as high risks for landslides, and six sitios were rated as high for flooding.

“Our regular reminder or advisory to the local chief executives to use the geohazards maps and the findings including recommendations in identifying the appropriate interventions or measures they will take,” Alburo added.

Meanwhile, the team noted two schools that sit in “very critical” zones, Banwague Elementary School, and Humay-Humay Elementary School. These schools were recommended for immediate relocation.

“These schools should not be used as evacuation sites as they have been considered as highly vulnerable to landslides due to highly weathered and numerous tension cracks,” he added.

He also emphasized the need to develop an early warning system to be institutionalized in each barangay or sitio so that communities would be able to respond very effectively when disasters happen.

Alburo also mentioned that the geohazards maps are now uploaded in the MGB website for easy access and in printable form free of charge.