MGB urges relocation of residents from landslide-prone area in SK

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 August) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has recommended the permanent relocation of residents from a riverside community in Bagumbayan town in Sultan Kudarat following last Friday’s flashfloods and landslides that left three persons dead.

Engr. Jaime Flores, chief geologist of MGB Region 12, said Wednesday the area affected by the floods and the landslides in Purok 10 of barangay Kinayao in Bagumbayan had long been classified as a high risk area based on the geo-hazard mapping conducted by the agency.

“It’s been marked as a high risk area and we even issued several warnings to residents and local government officials regarding the possible hazards there,” he said in a radio interview.

Flores, who conducted an ocular inspection of the area last Monday, said the landslides were mainly triggered by the flashfloods in a river that traverses Purok 10 of Barangay Kinayao.

He said it appeared that the river’s upper waterway had been blocked by boulders and felled trees, causing a temporary dam that eventually gave way following the heavy rains in the area late Friday afternoon.

A report from Bagumbayan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council noted that three persons were killed and at least 15 houses in the village were destroyed by the landslides.

Bagumbayan Mayor Bernardita Bito-onon said 28 families or a total of 90 individuals are presently taking temporary shelter at the Kinayao Elementary School following a forced evacuation implemented by the local government over the weekend.

She said they did not allow the evacuees to return to their communities due to the risk of another major flashflood and landslide in the area.

“We’re prioritizing right now their immediate relocation to a safer area,” the mayor said.

Bito-onon said the local government is also working for the release of burial assistance worth P10,000 to the families of the three fatalities.

She said they will also release shelter and financial assistance worth a total of P15,000 for each of the affected families.

“This is intended for the rebuilding of the houses that were damaged or destroyed because of the calamity,” Bito-onon said.

The mayor added that the local government has released additional funds for the relief assistance and the daily food needs of the evacuees. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)