GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Jan) – The city government here has launched a massive cleanup of waterways and drainage channels in various parts of the city in a bid to help ease flooding in several low-lying villages in the area.
City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said they have mobilized their personnel and residents of the flood-hit communities to clean up portions of the city’s drainage systems that were clogged up due to the accumulation of wastes and other materials.
She said the clogging of several drainage canals and irrigation channels in the area mainly triggered the flooding since Sunday in parts of Barangays Baluan, Bula, Lagao and other nearby areas.
“The water flow in some of our major waterways has started to stabilize because of the clearing of the clogged wastes,” the mayor said.
On Wednesday, local government personnel and community volunteers completed the cleanup of the Baluan Creek of various waste materials that comprised tree debris, household garbage and farm wastes.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council earlier said the clogging of wastes along the creek hampered the flow of water towards the drainage outlets at the height of the heavy rains last Sunday.
Intermittent rains continued almost nonstop in the area until Tuesday due to the effects of a Low Pressure Area and an Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Mindanao.
The creek eventually overflowed, causing knee-deep floods in some residential and farming areas of Barangays Baluan, Lagao and Bula.
As of Wednesday morning, the City Social Welfare and Development Office reported that a total of 574 families have already been affected by the floods.
It said most of the affected residents were situated in Barangay Baluan, where two families were evacuated last Monday due to the rising floodwaters.
Classes at the Baluan Elementary School remain suspended since Monday after some of its classrooms were submerged by floodwaters.
Custodio said they were still assessing the extent of the damages wrought by the floods in the area, especially on the agricultural crops.
Aside from the cleanup of the city drainage systems, the mayor said the local government will immediately rehabilitate portions of major roads in the city that were damaged by the floods.
She said the rehabilitation works will initially cover the damaged roads in Barangays Apopong and Lagao.
Meantime, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the flashflood and landslide alert is still up in the area as the rains were expected to continue until Thursday due to the effects of the LPA and the ITCZ.
Dante Arriola, weather forecaster of the PAGASA station here, said the LPA was tracked at 340 kilometers Southeast of Davao City as of 8 a.m. Wednesday.
He said the weather systems may trigger moderate to occasional heavy rains and thunderstorms in Mindanao, especially in the Davao and Soccsksargen regions.
He noted that another LPA was spotted at 1,500 kilometers east of Mindanao but such disturbance was considered too far to affect the area. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)