GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/7 July) – At least four villages here have been placed under the state of calamity due to the continuing floods since last week.
A report released today by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) said the calamity declarations were made by the Barangay Councils of Labangal, Dadiangas West, Dadiangas North and City Heights.
Portions of the four villages remained flooded since last week due to the almost daily heavy rains, which caused the critical Silway River to overflow towards riverside and low-lying communities, said CSWDO chief Rebecca Magante.
Barangay Labangal chair Lorelei Pacquiao said they placed their village under a state of calamity to allow the barangay council to utilize its calamity funds to address the needs of their constituents who were affected by the massive flooding in the area.
She said at least 103 families from flooded areas within the banks of the Silway River are currently taking temporary shelter at the village gymnasium.
“Our interventions were very limited these past days because we’re only using our emergency funds. We’ll now use our calamity funds to provide more tangible interventions,” Pacquiao said in a radio interview.
She said they will initially augment the ongoing relief efforts of the CSWDO, which has been providing for daily food requirements of the evacuees.
They will also provide some assistance to CSWDO social workers who are currently conducting stress debriefing sessions for the displaced residents.
Pacquiao said they have requested the city government, through City Mayor Darlene Custodio-Antonino, to conduct an engineering survey on the areas that were affected by the floods in their village.
“We’ve proposed for the permanent relocation of all residents who were situated within five meters from the riverbank,” she said.
In Barangay City Heights, village chair Lourdes Casabuena said they initially commissioned the stocking of sand bags along the banks of the Silway River in Purok Johnny Ang Paradise to prevent the floodwaters from further swelling towards the nearby communities in the area.
At the height of the floods earlier this week, some 20 feet of the protection dike in the area was destroyed, triggering massive flooding in nearby communities.
In Barangay Dadiangas North, village officials said another 18 feet of the installed dike was also swept away during the floods. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)