Hazard Map Saved Hundreds of Lives!

Hazard Map? What is it?

Will hazard map help save a life or just another tool in extracting data from the community?

Its been a while since I haven’t posted any activity.

But while conducting extension work, I was inspired by the result of their activity.

I learned that a hazard map is important in times of disaster.

For that reason, I wrote this article to inspire you too with their activity.

Don’t know what a hazard map is?

Read this informative post about hazard mapping.

Download this free guide from Japanese experts on how to do it.

They shared hazard mapping along with vulnerability mapping in disaster prevention.

For the purposes of definition,

Hazard maps indicate settlement areas that are at risk from floods, avalanches, landslides and rockfall. A separate map exists for each of these hazard categories. The maps can be used to identify areas that could be flooded by the next storm, locations where avalanches could be released and slopes where a landslide could arise.

The hazard maps also provide detailed information about the causes, course, spatial scope, intensity and probability of occurrence of natural hazard events.  www.planat.ch

Would you like to know how this little map saved hundreds of lives?

Read on.

As I read the report from my colleagues, I learned that they were conducting DRRM and hazard mapping in Brgy. Longsob as an extension activity. The villagers conducted this for the first time.

Based on Republic Act 10121, DRRM is 

the systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards and the possibility of disaster. Prospective disaster risk reduction and management refer to risk reduction and management activities that address and seek to avoid the development of new or increased disaster risks, especially if risk reduction policies are not put in place.

disaster risk reduction management training
Dr. Malabarbas discusses RA 10121 to the villagers in Brgy. Longsob, Calbayog City.

They were also informed of the RA 10121 as discussed during the series of activities. The output of their activity was an improved Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) plan.

Another activity was disaster drill awareness and hazard mapping.

With the help of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, the team of extension agents put markers of hazard-prone areas and early warning system.

Everyone was involved in the activity, not only the officials but even residents. This makes the extension activity more useful and meaningful.

Disaster drill in Brgy. Longsob

What happened then?

Last December 28, 2018 Tropical depression Usman downpours and devastated Calbayog City particularly in riverine areas.

Several people were reported dead in other neighboring villages.

When we visited Brgy. Longsob for action research, I asked what happened during the disaster.

According to them, the water level was too high. The emergency water level monitoring they set up was even destroyed by the heavy current.

Looking at their hazard map (below) the identified areas as hazard-prone (high risk) was in red.

hazard map
Hazard Map of Brgy. Longsob

And it occurred that their community hazard mapping was exactly correct.  Their areas in the red zone were heavily destroyed while the community residents also were able to relocate themselves before the flood.

The community knows best!

Benefits of Community Hazard Map

The residents said that the tragedy was unexpected, but even in those circumstances the disaster drill, planning, and orientation was able to equip the residents.

Moreover, when asked if there were casualties, there answer – NONE!

Thanks to the Hazard Map and the DRR drill that were conducted by NwSSU extension agents and the local DRR team.

The residents were aware and prepared about how to be resilient in times of disaster.

And also thanks to the hazard map.

Many lives were saved because of it. The residents were aware of where to go and evacuate.

Its one the activities that our extension agents are doing.

The essence of community participation

Capacitating people to be resilient is involving them in planning.

Without participation, there would be no results.

The true meaning of extension work is not building back better, but in helping people to become resilient and survive in times of disaster and unforeseen circumstances.

Community Participation
Hazard Mapping with the Community residents in Brgy. Longsob