GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 September) — Officials declared a village in Koronadal City under a state of calamity due to the onslaught of flashfloods and landslides in the last several days that already devastated around 60 hectares of upland farms in the area.
Mayor Peter Miguel said Tuesday officials of Barangay Saravia issued the calamity declaration to allow the immediate use of its calamity funds and facilitate the intervention of the city government as well as other government agencies.
“Our damage assessment in the area is still ongoing but the initial reports showed that an estimated 40 to 60 hectares of farmlands and four to six local communities were affected by the landslides and flashfloods,” the mayor said.
He said a portion of the mountains at the upland portion of Barangay Saravia collapsed at the height of the rains last Saturday, burying farms planted with sweet potato, cutflower and other agricultural crops.
The mayor said village officials reported that 10 houses sustained partial damages as a result of the landslides, which affected Puroks Ilang-ilang, Maharlika, Maunlad, Crismos and Camp Mariano.
Miguel said four communities in the area – Puroks Maharlika, Sampaguita, Maunlad and Damsite – suffered heavy flooding due to the almost daily heavy rains since last week.
“As precautionary measure, we’ve already evacuated some of the residents within the identified critical areas or danger zones into the safer grounds and instituted an alarm system to help prepare them against possible disasters,” he said.
Gregorio Presga, Saravia barangay chair, said some portions of the area have remained flooded due to the impounding of the floodwaters.
He said the flooded area lacks drainage outlets or waterways that would facilitate the discharge of the floodwaters.
Presga said they are initially planning to purchase food stocks and other relief items to address the needs of the affected residents.
He said they will also acquire emergency rescue equipment and other materials needed for disaster-related rescue operations.
On Monday, the official said he has asked the Department o Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to conduct an assessment of the areas affected by the landslides and determine the safety of the nearby communities.
“If the MGB requires an evacuation, then we will make an immediate request to the city government,” Presga said.
He added that he has also sought assistance from the Department of Public Works and Highways for the immediate repair and rehabilitation of some portions of the national highway’s shoulder that were earlier damaged by rushing floodwaters. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)