Like many of the victims of previous natural calamities in the Philippines, the people who perished under a mudslide in Barangay Ucab, Itogon following heavy rains brought by typhoon Ompong had long been at risk. GMA News reports that the same town experienced a similar fatal mudslide in 2012.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) noted that 72.12 percent or 194 out of 269 barangays in Benguet were landslide-prone.
One such landslide-prone site is La Trinidad, Benguet, where 79 people were killed in a landslide caused by Typhoon Pepeng in 2009.
Previous typhoons also saw their biggest casualties located at similarly at-risk sites. Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 hit hardest communities squatting along shorelines in Tacloban City. Typhoon Sendong in 2011 also wrought havoc in a community of “informal settlers” living on a floodplain right next to a river known to swell under heavy rains near Cagayan de Oro.
It’s time the root cause behind these tragic but preventable disasters be highlighted and the right solutions be implemented. The alternative is to continue the facade of routine “shock” that greets news like these year in and year out.[Photo source: Mohammed Abdiker]