Expert calls for reforesting Phillipines to help prevent deadly mudslides

The only way to guarantee that the country would not suffer devastating flash floods and mudslides is “to move communities out of fault lines and reforest ridges to check soil erosion.

This recommendation comes from Prof. Beatriz Jadina of the Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay City, Leyte, who said that 6,000 people have been killed by landslides and flash floods in Leyte since 1991.

Jadina said Leyte’s forest cover in 1954 was 53 percent but deforestation, logging, and mining had reduced the figure to only 14 percent in 2010.

On November 5, the country will remember the 1991 tragedy that killed 6,000 people in Ormoc City, many of whom never rose from their sleep as the ground shook and floodwaters swamped their houses.

Cascading murky water drowned residents days after heavy rainfall hit the area and many years after logging operations stripped the once-verdant island of much of its forest cover.

On February 17, 2006, a landslide buried Guinsaugon, St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, burying alive 1,126 people by official count.

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