Relocation eyed for residents of 2 tornado-stricken villages in Glan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 February) – Declaring the area as high-risk or danger zones, the provincial government of Sarangani has recommended the relocation of residents from two coastal communities in Glan town that were battered by a strong tornado last week.

Hermelo Latoja, Sarangani social welfare and development office chief, said Monday they advised the municipal government of Glan to work for the permanent relocation to safer areas of the more than 200 residents of Barangays Pangyan and Burias to spare them from possible disasters that may again hit the area.

He said they issued the recommendation as a medium- and long-term solution to the area’s vulnerability to weather-related disasters.

“The residents there will only be facing more risks if they remain in the area. I think the municipal government should now start planning for the permanent relocation of the affected communities to avert possible tragedies in the future,” said Latoja, who is also action officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

At least 182 houses in Barangays Pangyan and Burias were devastated when strong winds brought by a strong tornado ravaged the area at dawn last Tuesday.

No casualties were reported but the twister, which affected some 197 families, destroyed several fishing boats and various agricultural crops and toppled the area’s main power lines.

The local government of Glan already placed the entire town under a state of calamity due to the impact of the tornado, which is considered the worst in the last three decades.

Latoja said most of the affected families have remained in the designated evacuation center at the barangay proper of Burias and were being assisted by the municipal government and other concerned agencies.

He said the provincial government of Sarangani and the Office of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao earlier delivered rice supplies and food packs to augment the ongoing relief operations in the area.

Latoja said the local government of Glan initially released the shelter assistance of P5000 per family promised by the provincial government to 162 of the 182 families who lost their homes during the onslaught of the tornado.

“Aside from the food and shelter assistance, we will also address the psychosocial needs of the affected residents, especially the children,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)