Some Davao residents hit by flood last week evacuate anew

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 July) – Looking like they have learned their lesson, some residents who were hit by a flash flood last week voluntarily evacuated to safer places today as heavy rains poured anew.

At 4:30pm today, some residents of Arroyo Compound in Barangay Matina Crossing started to evacuate to the barangay hall, about half a kilometer away, leaving their washing chores and shanties which they were just starting to rebuild.

Adelaida Gutierrez told MindaNews that they were evacuating to the barangay hall due to fear that a flash flood may hit their village again.

Gutierrez, who was with her two sons and four grandchildren, said they also evacuated on Sunday evening because the water level in Talomo River overflowed anew and reached three feet.

“Lisud ng mag kumpyansa ta kay daghan nangamatay. Maayo ng safety ta daan ba,” (It’s hard to be lax because many people died. It’s better to be safe) she said.

Bong Aportadera, city information officer, told MindaNews that 90 families had evacuated from different parts of Barangay Matina Crossing, but returned to their respective villages at 4am today.

As of 7pm, he said that the Public Safety Command Center had not officially recorded yet the reported evacuation in Arroyo Compound.

On June 28 evening, floods hit Barangays Matina Pangi, Talomo, Matina Crossing 74-A, Matina Aplaya and Maa. The water subsided around 4am the next day.

Thirty-one persons died and a three-month old boy was reported missing in what is said to be the worst flood that hit the city in terms of lives lost.

Of the 31 fatalities, 17 of them are from the Arroyo Compound.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 137 houses were totally damaged in Davao City, 76 of which were in Matina Crossing. Two hundred sixty-eight other houses were partially damaged, 214 of which were in the same barangay.

The report added that the flood had affected 13,746 families.

Thirteen-year old Joshua Geverola brought with him a pot of rice, a can of corned beef and sardines, as he and his siblings and parents fled to the barangay hall.

Geverola, also a resident of Arroyo Compound, said they had nowhere else to go but the barangay hall.

Eleuterio Tubo said that only five kilos was left of the 25 kilos of rice assistance that they received over the weekend because it was washed away by the flood last night. “Ang lima ka-kilo bugas, igo ra gyud gi-konsumo namo karong adlawa,” (The five kilos of rice was just enough for our consumption today) said Tubo, who was washing some clothes on his flattened house.

He said the clothes and other belongings that they recovered from the flood were washed away too.

Tubo built a makeshift tent near the riverbank where he and his family were temporarily staying.

He added that the people are on alert whenever there are heavy rains. “Murag hadlok na kung magkusog ang ulan mao ng manigurado na gyud kami kung magkakusog ang ulan kay basin muawas na pud ng suba. (We now feel afraid whenever there’s a downpour that’s why we take precaution as the river may overflow again)”

Just a few minutes before the downpour, some of the residents had already started leaving the compound bringing with them a few clothes, umbrellas and little food.

But some of the residents refused to leave the village and continued to build their makeshift shelters in exactly the same spot where their old houses used to stand.  Most of them were recycling lumbers that were washed away and deformed galvanized iron sheets for roofing.

Meanwhile, Aportadera said the city government had allocated P10,000 each for totally destroyed houses and P5,000 each for the partially damaged ones.

He added that the city government may consider a relocation site for the flood victims, particularly those living along the riverbanks. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)