DHSUD eyes ‘evacuation center belt’ in Batangas

To enhance disaster preparedness and offer safety and comfort to residents affected by calamities such as the eruption of Taal Volcano, the national government is eyeing to establish an Evacuation Center Belt in Batangas province.

This was announced by Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario during President Rodrigo Duterte’s inspection of the Mataasnakahoy Evacuation Center on Monday, April 4.

Recently, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) placed the Taal Volcano under Alert Level 3 due to increased magma unrest– prompting the preemptive evacuation of more than 5,000 individuals.

“We hope to put up another evacuation center in Nasugbu, Batangas, in order to create an Evacuation Center Belt to enhance our readiness in times of calamities or Taal volcano eruption,” Del Rosario said.

Aside from the inspected center, the DHSUD also turned over two other evacuation centers in the municipalities of Sta. Teresita and Alitagtag recently. The three facilities are located outside the identified 14-kilometer danger zone.

The evacuation centers can also be utilized during storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters when residents need shelter outside their own homes.

Constructed through DHSUD’s BALAI (Building Adequate, Livable, Affordable and Inclusive Filipino Communities) Assistance Program, each evacuation center can accommodate at least 110 families or around 440 individuals and can fit approximately 106 modular tents inside.

It has key amenities and facilities such as an administrative office, storage room, kitchen and mess hall, laundry area, children’s area, clinic, prayer room, 40 separate female and male comfort rooms, 22 shower rooms, nine urinals and conjugal rooms, among others.

The DHSUD chief attributed the completion of the three evacuation centers in Batangas after only nine months to the effective partnership between the government and the private sector.