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Coastlines off limits to houses—gov’t order

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President Benigno Aquino III ordered Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to create a comprehensive program on environment protection against natural calamities. MALACANANG PHOTO

The government will now keep coastlines off limits to houses after tall waves swept through seaside areas in Visayas during the fury of typhoon Yolanda last November 8.

President Benigno Aquino III ordered Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to create a comprehensive program on environment protection against natural calamities.

“Part of the President’s directive to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) is to establish ‘no-build zones’ on coastlines to ensure the transfer of residents to safe resettlement areas,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over government-run dzRB.

During Yolanda’s (international name: Haiyan), it spawned waves as tall as 5 meters to 7 meters, flattening even concrete homes and other structures and crops.

In the aftermath of the storm, Tacloban, Samar and other near areas which bore the brunt of Yolanda, were reduced to a wasteland with debris everywhere.

The strongest typhoon to make landfall left 5,235 dead and 1,631 missing and also destroying P11.9 billion in infrastructure and P10.5 billion in agricultural products.

Coloma said that areas prone to disasters had been marked with “danger zones,” according to the geo-hazard mapping of the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

“We should keep these lessons in mind so that we can build back better,” he said.

The President also ordered the DENR to replant mangroves in coastal areas to buffer storm surges.

“The mangroves are being prepared so that planting could start, because it takes five to seven years to grow this,” Coloma said. with Luisito Antonio Santos

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