Issue of November 24, 2019
Mt. Province
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Expert urges declaring 2-km area in Apayao as danger zone
by Redjie Melvic Cawis / PIA

LUNA, Apayao – A geologist from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau has recommended an  almost two-kilometer stretch in Poblacion, Kabugao to be vacated and be declared as a danger zone after tension cracks with horizontal and vertical displacements were found to have affected the ground and several houses in the area.

MGB geologist Jelson Edduba made the recommendation after conducting a geologic assessment with members of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council led by Office of the Civil Defense-Cordillera Director Alberto Mogol, Gov. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, and Kabugao Mayor Bensmar Ligwang following the heavy rainfall in the province in the past weeks.

At least 30 families are in danger of losing their homes because of this.

Edduba said the area is experiencing instabilities in the form of creeping. The area has low stability since the shear stress has been reduced. It will continue to move down slope over a long period of time or can be easily remobilized. Additional factor considered is that the subject area is situated on a steep slope.

The area is also affected by the run-off of the Apayao River, which flows directly to the river wall or embankment where the houses are built. This worsens during the continuous heavy rains causing the swelling of the river. The creeping is aggravated by saturation.

He clarified that the area is not affected by any fault, which the residents thought was affecting the ground movement.

Edduba recommended that the area be declared as a danger zone so that no construction of new buildings and other structure should be allowed. Residents affected by the ground instabilities should be relocated to a more stable area.

Moreover, a systematic drainage system should be introduced in the area and should be concreted and interconnected with the main drainage system. All surface water should be diverted away from the site and appropriate embankment and concrete lining along the Apayao River should be considered to prevent scouring and instabilities along the riverbank.

Proper monitoring of the area should be implemented, including the residential areas, for possible development of ground stabilities as manifested by tension cracks, tilted or bent trees or ground displacements.

Ligwang said that the cracks in the area started showing up after Typhoon Ompong last year. There were small cracks on the ground then, which overtime expanded and opening larger portion of the ground and affecting houses. It was aggravated by the recent heavy rains.

He said families of the affected areas already vacated their homes and are now in evacuation centers or with their relatives.

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