GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) – A strong tornado ravaged an urban village in Polomolok town in South Cotabato on Friday afternoon, damaging 38 houses and other structures in the area, an official said on Saturday.
Antonio Octavio, chair of Barangay Cannery Site in Polomolok, said the twister, which came following a heavy downpour, pummeled a portion of Purok People’s Village and the neighboring communities at around 1 p.m.
He said no casualties were reported during the incident but noted that 8 of the 38 affected houses and buildings in the area were totally damaged.
A report released by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) of Region 12 on Saturday morning cited that 33 families were affected by the tornado, which left an estimated damage of around P500,000.
But Octavio said their latest monitoring showed that the affected families already reached 140 while the estimated damaged has increased to around P600,000.
“Some of the affected families have evacuated from their areas and are currently taking temporary shelter at the barangay hall,” he said in a radio interview.
Octavio said the municipal social welfare and development office has released initial relief assistance to the evacuees and conducted an assessment for other immediate needs of the affected residents.
He said South Cotabato governor-elect and outgoing second district Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes and mayor-elect Honey Lumayag-Matti have sent additional relief goods to augment the needs of the evacuees.
Octavio said they have also dispatched their barangay action or response team, which was earlier the first group to respond to the affected areas, to assess other possible damages wrought by the tornado in other parts of the village.
The OCD-12 noted in its report that the Polomolok Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has launched a separate assessment and validation regarding the impact of the incident.
It said the agency is presently monitoring the situation in the area as well as other parts of Region 12 due to the onset of sporadic heavy rains in the past several days and the possible occurrence of some weather-related disturbances.