Sarangani residents warned of possible disasters during rainy season

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 June) – Disaster management officials in Sarangani province alerted local residents on Thursday against the possible occurrence of flashfloods, landslides and other weather-related disasters in the wake of the onset of the rainy season.

Ben Solarte, Sarangani Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head, issued the warning as five families in Alabel town were forced to evacuate on Wednesday afternoon after flashfloods swept anew a lowland community in the area.

He said portions of Purok Tagumpay in Barangay Poblacion of Alabel were submerged in floodwaters due to the swelling of some waterways in the area following intermittent heavy rains.

No casualties were reported but five families with a total of five dependents were evacuated to safer areas by the Alabel Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), Solarte said.

He said the Alabel MDRRMC has provided relief goods and other necessary assistance to the affected residents.

Solarte said the heavy rains in the area on Wednesday was caused by “local thunderstorms” brought about by the rainy season, which already started earlier this week, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) .

“(Local thunderstorms) are not usually highlighted in advisories and forecasts (issued by PAGASA). They usually happen in the afternoon in the mountainous or upland areas and might eventually trigger flooding in the lowlands,” he said.

In its weather forecast issued on Thursday morning, PAGASA said parts of Mindanao “will have partly cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.”

It said light to moderate winds coming from the northeast to north will prevail over Mindanao and the condition of the coastal waters along these areas will be slight to moderate.

Solarte said they have not received any report of flooding or other weather-related incidents in other areas of the province aside from the flashflood in Alabel town.

But he said there are currently several areas in the province that are considered critical due to the recorded landslide and flooding incidents in the past during the rainy season.

In Alabel town, portions of the Poblacion area and three other neighboring barangays experienced heavy flooding several times last year that affected around 100 families.

Among the areas that are considered as flood and landslide prone were some upland and coastal villages in the municipalities of Glan, Malapatan and Kiamba as well as communities near major waterways in Malungon town.

Solarte advised residents located in identified flood and landslide-prone areas to take extra precaution and closely monitor the weather and ground condition in their areas.

“Those situated in critical areas should evacuate or relocate early and not wait for any of these disasters to happen,” the official said.