Maragusan town: back on track after 15-days’ isolation post-Pablo

MARAGUSAN, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/20 January)  —  While the world focused its attention on  Boston, Cateel and Baganga, the three Davao Oriental towns badly hit by Typhoon Pablo, and its neighbor, New Bataan, which posted the highest death toll along Pablo’s path, Maragusan town, the summer capital of the Davao region, quietly tried to get back on track by itself  after 15 days of isolation due to landslides.

“We were isolated for 15 days,” Mayor Cesar Colina told MindaNews last week. He explained how the town managed to clear the road especially the nearly one-kilometer stretch of the Nabunturan-Maragusan highway, which was rendered impassable by landslides.

Maragusan is around 60 kilometers from the capital town of Nabunturan.

Colina said the town has three access roads: Nabunturan-Maragusan; Mawab-Maragusan both in Compostela Valley and the Maragusan to Mati City in Davao Oriental. The mayor acknowledged that only a few people pass the Maragusan-New Bataan road because of the frequent landslides before Pablo.

On January 13, MindaNews traveled on motorcycle through the rocks and boulders of Barangay Andap in New Bataan before reconnecting to the concrete portion of the New Bataan-Maragusan highway. But the road ended in Sitio Libuton, some 30 kilometers from Maragusan. One can no longer proceed to Maragusan from there  because of the thick debris covering about a meter high of the road.

Records of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed three residents of Maragusan were killed — two from landslides and one from tetanus; three persons were reported missing and 13 others were injured when Typhoon Pablo passed this way on December 4.

A total of  2,929 households or 13,950 persons were affected by Pablo, 69 of them persons with disabilities, 50 pregnant and 5,286 children, the MDRRMC report said.

In terms of priority needs, food still tops among the affected families with 2,300 mentioning this, followed by planting materials (998): corn, vegetable, fruit, cacao and wood;  housing materials particularly GI sheets (504), medicines (320), cash/financial assistance (296), nails (198).

A total of 1,588 residents fled their homes to seek shelter from the typhoon. Of this number, 1,009 sought shelter in the houses of their neighbors or relatives, 156 sought shelter in a “vacant lot, dakong bato (boulder), bukid (farm) and car.

The MDRRMC report said the total cost of damages caused by Typhoon Pablo in Maragusan town was P313.57 million.

Cavendish bananas account for the biggest damage at P136.24M, followed by other crops damaged at P91.62M, P48.17M for infrastructure and other government facilities and forestry at P30M.

Colina said they were assured of  food ration for the affected families for six months. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)