Zambo declares state of calamity

ZAMBOANGA CITY  (MindaNews/ 25 September)– The city council here has approved a resolution putting the locality under a state of calamity due to flashfloods and strong winds that hit the area.

This came after the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), citing widespread destruction of fishponds and agricultural products and disruption of lifelines such as electricity and potable water systems, has recommended the declaration of a state of calamity in the city.

The declaration of the state of calamity, reached in an emergency session Monday night, authorized the release and utilization of calamity funds for assistance to those affected and to support the ongoing program and operations to address the calamity.

Zamboanga City has been battered since Friday by incessant heavy downpour spawned by the southwest monsoon and induced by tropical storm “Lawin,” resulting to massive flooding in low-lying areas and destruction to houses located near coastal areas due to huge waves.

The CDRRMC identified the hardest hit areas as barangays Vitali, Tictapul, Mangusu, Divisoria, Boalan and Tugbungan and Lanzones in the east coast and Labuan, Patalon, Baliwasan, San Jose Gusu, Sta. Barbara and Zone IV in the west coast.

A five-year old boy was killed Monday when he was hit by a tree that was uprooted due to strong winds in the village of Labuan.

A woman was injured in the face when her house collapsed due to soil liquefaction in Barangay Licomo, while 12 people were given medical assistance by the City Health Office due to various illnesses also Monday.

Latest CDRRMC records showed that a total of 1,692 families or 4,625 individuals were displaced by the calamity.

At least 222 houses were damaged, 48 of which were totally destroyed and the rest partially damaged. This figure already includes the 21 houses that were smashed by a cargo ship swept by big waves in Barangay Rio Hondo.

City agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said initial reports showed that some 1,175 hectares of farm and fisheries areas were flooded.

This includes 1,000 hectares (ha) of fishponds, 84 ha of palay farms, 21 ha of vegetable farm, 15 ha of corn farms and 55 ha of seaweeds crops, said Palacat.

The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) reported to the CDRRMC that the heavy rains and strong winds toppled 53 electrical posts, causing power outages in the different parts of this city.

The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) reported that water transmission lines were damaged in the different parts of the city.

ZCWD assistant general manager Engineer Alejo Rojas said that repair works have been undertaken to restore the water distribution lines.

The city government has yet to determine the damage to properties.

Meanwhile, Francisco Barredo, City Social Welfare and Development officer, said that 576 families remained at the evacuation centers established in barangays San Jose Gusu, Vitali, Divisoria and Tugbungan.

Relief goods have been distributed to the affected families and this would continue, Barredo said.  (MindaNews)