Temporary shelters for Davao fire victims burn

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 May) – Two temporary shelters at the Rizal Elementary School for victims of a fire that hit Barangays 22C and 23C early last month burned in a fire at 7:20 p.m. Saturday.

The fire at the school burned three classrooms, two of which housed evacuees and another one a relief package storage area of the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO).

According to Chona Pantig, CSSDO team leader for the evacuation center in the school, the two classrooms housed six to eight families.

She said the fire started at one of the classroom’s canopies and was attributed to faulty wiring.

CSSDO staff in the area said around half of the relief food packs intended for the estimated 1,000 evacuees there was burned, including sacks of rice, noodles, and canned goods.

Classroom materials like furniture, books and visual aids were also damaged.

Pantig estimated the damage at around P1 million.

She said they have recommended to the CSSDO management to use trucks instead of classrooms in distributing food so that the goods can immediately be returned to their office in Magsaysay Park in case there is a surplus.

The fire came nearly two weeks after the evacuees were told to vacate the elementary schools by May 15, in time for the Brigada Eskwela activities for the incoming school year.

Pantig said the evacuees have no choice but to vacate the area.

Sometime last month, CSSDO assistant head Liwayway Caligdong had asked the evacuees not to use several appliances at the same time as a precaution.

She said the Department of Education had also complained of evacuees using books in the elementary schools as pillows, and worse, as toilet paper, but that the department had already stopped the evacuees from doing so.

She added the CSSDO has almost finished validating the names of house owners who will be awarded lots at Isla Verde, after it was announced that the owners may return to the area after the access roads and drainage plans have been finalized. (MindaNews)