CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 February) – More than 30 families temporarily housed in tents in relocation sites here went into panic when heavy rains caused flood in the relocation area Monday evening.
The newly installed Tent City 2 at Kalubihan in Sitio Calaanan, Barangay Canitoan hosts 250 families.
“Most of the people here have not yet recovered from the traumatic experience they went through during the Sendong flood. I guess that’s why most of us panicked when at 9:30 in the evening water started coming inside the tents and rose almost to knee level in some areas,” said John Paul Barsopia, correspondent of Periodico Coop newspaper and Sendong survivor who just transferred to the relocation site last February 5.
Barsopia, who just underwent psychosocial activity for members of the media affected by Sendong, said that some of his neighbors in the Tent City fled in a hurry and headed towards the other tent communities to seek refuge.
Irene Uayan, together with her husband, left their tent, too, bringing their three-year-old daughter a covered basketball court nearby. She said they left in panic, leaving many of their things behind.
“Most of our belongings got wet. We just made sure that we save our supply of rice and a few relief clothes. We don’t want to go back there tonight because we are afraid it might rain again and flood the site,” she said.
The local barangay unit of Canitoan immediately responded and provided assistance to the families who took shelter at the covered court.
“We tried to calm them down and assured them of our help,” said Joshua Taboclaon, barangay chairman of Canitoan. “Tonight we will transfer them to the DSWD Kalahi building on the other side of the road for a more secure place to sleep,” he added.
Taboclaon explained that the main reason for the sudden rise of water is the still incomplete trench being set up all over the tent community.
But residents who have been living at the Kalubihan area for long said that the relocation site is flood-prone, the water rising up to knee level with strong rains. (Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)