Cagayan de Oro, one of the fastest growing cities in the Philippines, has become a hotspot for investments and business expansions. With the growing number of infrastructure projects/ with the expansion of infrastructure, the city has now developed rapidly into a highly urbanized area. Located at the center of the city is the Poblacion area composed of over 40 barangays where major institutions and large businesses are concentrated. This rapid urbanization has led to the need for a quick assessment on disaster risk of earthquake and fire. These hazards could cause human and financial losses. In addition, vulnerability linked to physical, social, economic and structural factors increases the susceptibility of the area to hazards. The study has thus developed tools for quantifying these disaster risks. The street block is used as a unit of measure, and mitigation strategies are recommended in order to decrease the exposure of the population. The study found that 33 blocks are at high risk for earthquake hazards. These blocks are all basically in the same situation: engineered and non-engineered structures are built closely together, and they are densely populated. In the case of fire hazard, 26 blocks were identified as being at very high risk. These blocks are mostly residential clusters and are densely populated areas. Moreover, most of the structures do not meet fire standards. To reduce a block's disaster risk the study has recommended the evaluation and implementation of a comprehensive plan in these critical areas. As such, planning the nearest evacuation sites and probable routes to be taken are recommended. Better preparedness and response programs will also help to reduce vulnerability to disasters. With all theis in mind, reducing disaster risks will help to shape the future, not only for this city but for others as well.
Keywords: Disasters, Earthquake, Fire, Risk, Hazard, Population, Vulnerability
Mr. Dexter Lo
XU Engineering Resource Center Xavier University , Cagayan de Oro
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