GenSan launches massive clean-up of waterways

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 07 August) — The city government has launched anew a massive clean-up of various waterways in the city in the wake of the renewed flooding in several low-lying communities in the area.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera specifically directed the clearing of drainage channels in portions of Barangays Lagao and Baluan that were submerged by knee-deep floodwaters in the last two days due to intermittent rains.

He said their main focus is the immediate clearing of the clogged portions of the critical Baluan Creek, which had caused severe flooding in the area in the past months.

“We’ll make sure that the creek’s water will flow naturally towards the sea,” the mayor said.

He was referring to the Sarangani Bay, the main outlet of the Baluan Creek and other tributaries in the area.

Huge volumes of floodwaters swamped parts of the two villages early Tuesday after hours of heavy rains on Monday night.

The floods affected around 214 families in Lagao and Baluan, which is considered as a catchbasin of floodwaters coming from nearby Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces.

In a meeting convened by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday, officials of the two villages said the floods were caused by the clogged drainage canals and channels in the area.

The affected waterways were situated along Nagpan and Nursery roads in Barangay Lagao and Sarif Mocsin in Baluan.

The mayor said he has created a team that will look into the perennial flooding in Barangays Lagao and Baluan draw up immediate and long-term solutions to the problem.

He said the team will focus on specifically determining the root cause of the floods, which usually happens after hours of heavy rains.

The City Engineer’s Office had proposed for the construction of a 4.5 kilometer diversion channel to resolve the flooding in the area but the project will require a budget of around P200 million.

The City Engineer’s Office had proposed for the construction of a 4.5 kilometer diversion channel to resolve the flooding in the area but the project will require a budget of around P200 million.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 earlier recommended the development of stable storm drainage and diversion channels to ease the perennial flooding in low-lying areas of the city.

It specifically identified barangays Baluan, Buayan, Bula, Calumpang, Siguel, Lagao and Sinawal as high-risk to flooding.

The seven villages were among the 340 communities in Region 12 that were found to be highly vulnerable and will likely become “uninhabitable” during floods.

MGB said most of these areas are part of a flood plain and are vulnerable to heavy flooding after just two to three hours of rains due to the lack of substantial storm drainage structures. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)

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