CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/26 December) — Another kind of disaster looms in Barangay Consolacion, one of the areas worst hit by the flood brought by Tropical Storm Sendong last December 17: filth and garbage that has started to pile up on street sides and clogged drainage canals.
Without running water, barangay residents were finding it hard to clean what’s left of their homes and dispose of the carcasses of dead animals and other rubbish that pose health risks.
Lourderico Pedimonte, a resident of Isla Kupa, Barangay Consolacion complained that when it rains (it has rained twice since Sendong) the garbage piles wash back to the street.
“And then we start the cleaning all over again,” Pedimonte, who was wearing an ill-fitting pink polo shirt, said in the dialect.
He, along with others in the neighborhood, has been cleaning their homes since Thursday last week.
In another part of the barangay, district III, Merly Fuentes said that aside from the difficulty of cleaning their house without running water, they also have to contend with the stench of the rotting dead dogs and other livestock the flood washed into their place.
“It’s hard cleaning the house because all of my sons are now married and are living their own lives with their families. My husband and I are too old for this,” Fuentes, who is now 60, said.
Naomi Lactao said the clearing of the garbage piles along the streets in the barangay can contribute to the effort of the residents to rebuild their homes and lives.
“At least when residents here wake up in the morning and the piles of garbage have been cleared, it will make them feel positive and not defeated,” she said.
“The clearing of the piles of garbage will certainly help the people here move on, at least psychologically,” Lactao, a teacher by profession with a degree in psychology, said.
Meanwhile, as of December 25, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council had pegged the death toll at 1,100 and the number of houses damaged at 36,500. But it had stopped issuing an advisory on the number of missing persons saying the reports were not accurate.
Tropical Storm Sendong flooded 23 of this city’s 80 barangays in the worst calamity this city has witnessed in many years.
In 2009, flashfloods displaced some 300,000 people but claimed fewer casualties. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)