500 homeless as tornado hits village in Glan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 February) – A coastal village in Glan town in Sarangani province has been placed under a state of calamity following the onslaught of a strong tornado early Tuesday that left at least 500 residents homeless.

Glan Mayor Victor James Yap said Wednesday the twister ripped through the center of Barangay Burias at around 1am Tuesday, destroying at least 160 houses, several fishing boats and various agricultural crops.

No casualties were reported but several residents suffered various minor injuries as a result of the incident, he said.

“It’s a woeful sight. You can see two-storey houses flattened to the ground and fishing boats that were rendered useless,” he said in a phone interview.

Citing an initial assessment made by the Glan Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, he said around 200 coconut trees and a significant portion of the village’s banana and mango plantations were damaged by the calamity.

Hardest hit was the center of Barangay Burias and a portion of the village’s Sitio Punsad, the mayor said.

Yap said the twister damaged and cut off the area’s main power lines but that repair works were being done.

He said the municipal government is still assessing the damage wrought by the tornado but estimated that the value of the devastation could reach millions of pesos.

As of Wednesday morning, Yap said some 160 families were taking temporary shelter at a school in Sitio Punsad in Barangay Burias.

He said the municipal government initially delivered 100 sacks of rice and assorted clothing to the evacuees while the office of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao sent food packs composed of canned goods, rice and noodles.

Yap said the Sarangani provincial government has promised to provide a shelter assistance of P5,000 to each of the displaced families.

He said the financial grant would be used to help rebuild the damaged houses, which were mostly made of light materials.

“This morning (Wednesday), we will bring our medical team to the area and conduct our Munisipyo sa Barangay program there so we can properly address the needs of the displaced residents and the affected communities,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)