Most GenSan barangays are flood-prone, says official

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 January) – More than half of the city’s 26 villages are reportedly prone to heavy flooding once the sporadic heavy rains in the area brought about by the ongoing La Niña phenomenon intensifies in the coming weeks, an official of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) warned.

Ephraim Beliran, CDRRMC action officer, said their assessment showed that at least 17 barangays in the area are presently at risk to flashfloods and other related disasters due to the nearly-saturated grounds and the presence of critical waterways.

The identified flood-prone areas were barangays Apopong, Baluan, Buayan, Bula, Calumpang, City Heights, Conel, Dadiangas North, Dadiangas West, Fatima, Labangal, Lagao, Mabuhay, San Isidro, Bawing, Sinawal and Tambler.

“We’re currently on alert and have been closely monitoring these areas to avert possible tragedies once the situation worsens,” Beliran told reporters.

Based on the geohazard vulnerability map released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 12’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), a big stretch of the city’s central area was identified as vulnerable to flooding. A separate flood map issued by the agency showed that around half of the city’s total land area was considered as high risk to flooding while the remaining areas were under the moderate category.

The identified flood-prone zones in the city cover low-lying villages, portions of the city’s main commercial and business districts, coastal areas and communities near major rivers that drain towards the Sarangani Bay.

At the height of typhoon Frank more than two years ago, portions of Barangays Labangal, Dadiangas West, Lagao and Apopong were submerged by floodwaters due to the heavy rainfall that caused some rivers and their tributaries to swell.

Beliran said most of the identified flood-prone areas have previous records of severe flooding, which usually occur during the rainy season.
“Our main concern right now is the communities near our riverbanks and other critical waterways because of the possible occurrence offlashfloods,” he said.

To help address the problem, Beliran said they have linked with the barangay councils of the affected areas to help inform local residents regarding the situation and the necessary preparations as well as precautions in case disasters would strike.
He said they also intensified their information and education campaign in various local communities regarding the standard disaster response mechanisms and strategies.

These include the proper identification of evacuation areas and regular media monitoring for possible advisories, he said.
“It’s important that we properly inform, train and prepare our residents for the possible worst-case scenarios that may occur so they can also appropriately respond to them,” Beliran added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)