61 families displaced, 6 houses destroyed in GenSan floods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – Sixty-one families have evacuated while a total of six houses were destroyed as flashfloods swept anew two critical riverside communities here Monday night.

A report from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) said a portion of a dike along the banks of Silway River gave way anew at past 7pm Monday, causing huge volumes of floodwaters to spill towards nearby Puroks PI 16 and Johnny Ang Paradise of Barangay Dadiangas Heights.

The river’s water level reportedly rose early Monday night due to the heavy rains in nearby upland areas in South Cotabato province.

Based on initial accounts from local residents, six houses were swept away by rushing floodwaters, which triggered waist-deep floods within the two communities.

Lourdes Gambalan, Barangay City Heights council member, said the water level in the flooded area rose rapidly, prompting the village council to evacuate the affected residents to safer grounds at around 8pm.

She said the village’s rescue teams and vehicles brought the evacuees to the oval plaza gymnasium as directed by city government.

No casualties were reported as a result of the latest flashfloods, she said.

“A total of 61 families or 231 individuals have been rescued and temporarily evacuated from the two flooded communities,” said Gambalan, who acts as the village’s disaster operations coordinator.

Gambalan said the city government immediately released relief assistance to the evacuees in the form of food packs and other basic items.

She said the village’s volunteer health workers and personnel from the City Social Welfare and Development Office are presently attending to the basic needs of the evacuees.

“We’re continuously monitoring the situation in the flooded area, especially if it’s still safe for the evacuees to return there. Right now, we’re still waiting for the CDRRMC’s advisory regarding this,” Gambalan said.

In June and July, several portions of the dike along the Silway River suffered breaches and eventually collapsed at the height of the heavy rains in the area.

At the height of the floods then, some 20 feet of the protection dike in Barangay City Heights was destroyed, triggering massive flooding in nearby communities.

In Barangay Dadiangas North, village officials said another 18 feet of the installed dike was also swept away during the floods.

The destruction of the dike caused heavy flooding and the evacuation of around 200 families from communities within four barangays traversed by the river.

Silway River, which flows to Sarangani Bay, is the main outlet of several river-tributaries from the upland areas in nearby South Cotabato province.

City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio already directed the repair of the damaged dike to prevent further flooding in the affected areas.

The mayor earlier endorsed a study on the possible relocation of residents from the affected communities, which were had been identified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau as high risk areas to flooding. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)