GenSan farming village hit by tornado

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 April) – Officials have declared a farming village here under the state of calamity due to the onslaught of a strong tornado on Sunday afternoon that affected around 650 residents.

Hannah Joaquino, special operations officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), said the calamity declaration was issued on Tuesday morning by the barangay council of Tinagacan following an assessment of the twister’s impact, which ravaged eight puroks in the area.

She said the declaration would facilitate the immediate release of the village’s calamity funds to respond to the needs of the affected residents.

The tornado hit the area at around 2 p.m. last Sunday, pummeling residential communities as well as banana, coconut and mango plantations.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration station here noted that the weather disturbance was triggered by a thunderstorm.

As of Tuesday morning, Joaquino said eight puroks in Barangay Tinagacan have reported minimal to severe damages to properties and agricultural crops.

She said officials of Barangays Upper Labay and Batomelong also reported damages to crops in portions of the two villages.

In Tinagacan alone, she said their assessment showed that a total of 136 families or equivalent to around 650 individuals were affected by the calamity in Puroks 2, 4, 5, 6, 15, 17, 18 and 19.

Joaquino said no casualties were reported but some 26 houses were totally damaged and 110 others sustained partial damages.

“These figures could still increase in the coming days as our assessment teams are still checking the other affected areas,” she told MindaNews.

Acting on orders from City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, the CDRRMO and the City Social Welfare and Development Office released food packs composed of rice, noodles and canned goods to the affected families.

Barangay Tinagacan chairman Dagadas Panayaman said the city government has committed to immediately address the needs of the affected residents, especially those who were taking temporary shelter at the barangay gymnasium.

The mayor has scheduled an emergency meeting of the CDRRM Council Tuesday afternoon to discuss the necessary interventions to the affected areas and residents.

“The council will evaluate whether there’s a need for more interventions, especially on the rehabilitation aspect,” Joaquino said.