Thursday, May 21, 2015

Checking Geohazard Maps Before Buying Property


The Philippines is found within the Pacific Ring of Fire. It's one of the most seismically active regions in the world -- 90% of the world's earthquakes take place within this region. 

But earthquakes aren't the only problem: typhoons sweep through the country all too often, and flooding has become a major setback, especially within the city and its low-lying areas.

For homebuyers and property investors, these natural disasters must be taken into account. Needless to say, no one would want to live or invest in a place where the rains could turn the streets into a rampaging river, or which prove to be vulnerable to an earthquake due to the presence of a major faultline.

Before committing to a purchase, homebuyers and property investors should take caution and ascertain whether the property is vulnerable to these natural calamities. To this end, one can look at geohazard maps to determine whether the area is safe or not.

But what is a geohazard map? Simply put, this map indicates places that are susceptible to earthquake, flooding, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other destructive natural phenomena that are classified and collectively called as "geologic hazards," or geohazards. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) describe geohazards as "naturally-occurring geological phenomena that pose danger to people’s lives, properties, infrastructure and communities. These include landslides, flooding and land subsidence. However, in some cases, geohazards can also be induced by human activities."

The DENR's Geohazard Mapping and Assessment Program provides a geohazard map, which you can access here. The map shows an assessment of all 1,634 cities and municipalities around the country. To use the map, simply zoom in on the specific area where you're thinking of buying propert. Click on "Map Layers" on the toolbar at the top of the page and tick the checkbox labelled "Geohazard Map" to view the areas susceptible to landslides and flooding. Take note that "red zones" are highly susceptible to landslides, and "purple zones" are highly susceptible to flooding.

Do your due diligence before buying property. Stay clear of the high-risk areas, and if you do end up in these regions, make sure that the property you acquire has what it takes to withstand natural disasters.


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