CABANGAHAN, Malaybalay City (MindaNews/13 June) – Heavy rains brought flashfloods here and in nearby Lantapan town Tuesday afternoon, damaging the properties of at least 150 families but causing no casualties, the Malaybalay City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported.
Of the affected families, 135 were from this village, where at least five houses were “partially damaged,” according to village chief Edwin Rara.
Villagers described the flashflood, which occurred from 3 to 7p.m. as “the worst to hit us, so far.”
“It was quick. I went out of the house to save some of our things washed out, and was clueless I would get hurt,” said 41-year old Danilo Avenido, who stepped on a barbed wire and injured his left leg.
Both north- and south- bound motorists were blocked from proceeding along the portion of the Sayre Highway in Cabangahan as water overflowed from the drainage canal. Vehicles were allowed to pass through by 6p.m. but water subsided only after 7p.m.
In Bugcaon, Lantapan, 14 families were also affected, including one family that was evacuated.
Village officials blamed the flashfloods on the lack of natural and man-made flood control measures in the uplands, where banana plantations dominate the landscape.
But Rara said a pineapple plantation’s alleged faulty canals contributed to the flashfloods.
The Lapanday Diversified Products Corporation (LPDC) operates a 100-hectare pineapple plantation in Purok 3, an upland portion of the barangay. Village officials said the floods that hit the area over the years were caused by the firm’s land preparation activities.
But Rara clarified that while the firm needed to reroute its canals it can only be “partially blamed” for the flashfloods.
He added that LPDC officials promised to remove silts in the Cabangahan Creek and in other drainage canals in the barangay that usually clogged.
Alex Ricaforte, LPDC land association supervisor, admitted to MindaNews via telephone that they have been meeting with the barangay officials about their complaints. He cited that they have already “programmed work to clear the silts” but that they were just overtaken by the flood.
He said they are also coordinating with barangay officials on the need to reroute their canals.
Rara said they have asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to replace its narrow culverts with bigger ones to prevent clogging. But he said he was told to wait until the agency was through with its road repair project.
Rara noted that Bugcaon appears to be a catchment basin making it prone to flashfloods. He said this puts 200 of the village’s 649 families at risk, and they may have to be relocated.
The Lantapan Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that damage to infrastructure reached P5.3 million. It said the spillway in Bugcaon was partially damaged.
The council placed damage to agriculture at about P2 million. Among the areas affected were 20 hectares planted to corn.
The Malaybalay CDRRMC was yet to release estimates on the damage caused by the flood in Cabangahan.
Barangay officials reported that the City Social Welfare and Development Office distributed food items to the affected residents. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)