SouthCot warns of possible landslides, flashfloods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 29 May) – The provincial government of South Cotabato alerted local disaster management teams against the possible occurrence of landslides and flashfloods in identified critical areas with the onset of the rainy season.

Lawyer Hilario de Pedro III, South Cotabato provincial administrator, said Wednesday they are closely monitoring several local communities, especially those located near river-tributaries and landslide-prone areas, due to the erratic weather condition.

He said sporadic heavy rains affecting most parts of the province in the last several days could trigger landslides in some upland areas as well as floods in the lowlands.

“Since the rainy season has already started, everybody should be vigilant and take the necessary precaution to be better prepared in case disasters will occur,” he said in an interview over Radio Mindanao Network.

De Pedro, who heads the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), noted that most upland areas in the province are considered critical to landslides due to the quality and type of soil found in the area.

He said the province’s ground soil is mainly volcanic or made up of pyroclastic materials that were traced from previous explosions of the area’s two active volcanoes – Mt. Matutum in Polomolok and Tupi towns and Mt. Melebingoy (formerly Parker) in T’boli town.

Major landslides were recorded in the last two years in upland portions of Tampakan, T’boli and Lake Sebu towns as well as in Koronadal City.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of Region 12 had cited topography and the overly saturated ground soil as the main causes of the previous landslides in these areas.

In T’boli and Tampakan towns, the risk of the possible occurrence of major landslides was compounded by the small-scale mining activities.

In terms of flashfloods, among the areas being watched by the PDRRMO are communities near major rivers in Koronadal City and the municipalities of Banga, Norala, Tupi, Polomolok, Surallah, Sto. Niño, T’boli and Lake Sebu.

Meantime, De Pedro said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Education (DepEd) for the implementation of disaster mitigation measures for schools within the province that are located in flood and landslide-prone areas.

He said they initially directed DepEd and local school administrators to clean up the waterways within the vicinity of school compounds or campuses to prevent possible flooding in case heavy rains will occur.

He added that they have also set coordination systems between school officials and barangay-based disaster management personnel as part of its disaster mitigation program.