ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 5 August) – Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar ordered the suspension of classes on Monday in four barangays where schools are being utilized as evacuation centers for families displaced because of the non-stop rains in the past few days.
Salazar, at the same time, created the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (DRRMC) to receive all calamity-related reports and to direct and dispatch rescue teams to the affected areas.
City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. has been named as the DRRMC head.
Classes were suspended in the schools of Barangay Limpapa, Manicahan, Tetuan and Tugbungan where displaced families are temporarily sheltered.
Evelyn Las Marias, officer-in-charge of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), disclosed that her office has recorded a total of 497 families with 1,374 dependents displaced as of 10 a.m. Monday. They are temporarily sheltered at the following elementary schools: Limpapa, 69 families; Manicahan, 20 families; Tetuan, 184 families; and Tugbungan, 194 families.
Although there are 17 families displaced in Barangay Divisoria and 13 in Barangay Patalon, classes were not suspended there since the schools are not being used as evacuation centers.
The CSWDO has recorded two deaths since Friday because of the rains – aged 14 and 6 who were trapped during a landslide on Saturday in Barangay Limpapa.
Las Marias said there was another landslide that occurred Sunday afternoon in Barangay Divisoria but there was no casualty.
Las Marias said relief assistance were immediately provided to the affected families who are temporarily sheltered at the evacuation centers.
She said her personnel are conducting assessment and verification at the different evacuation centers while the City Health Office personnel are checking on the health conditions of the victims.
Meanwhile, the Office of the City Agriculture initially reported that approximately 31 hectares of crops and 57 hectares of fishpond were damaged by flash flood as of Monday.
This city had been experiencing continuous rains the past few days due to a low pressure area (LPA) in east of Mindanao embedded in inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ).
Orendain said that all DRRMC member-agencies remain on alert for any eventuality while the weather condition remains abnormal in this city.