State of calamity to be declared in flooded Sarangani town

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 27 Aug) – Officials of the coastal town of Kiamba in Sarangani are set to declare the entire area under the state of calamity following the flashfloods on Monday afternoon that affected around 560 families in six barangays.

Rommel Sinarimbo, planning officer of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region 12, said Wednesday the local government is currently gathering the necessary data to facilitate the calamity declaration, which would set the release of the necessary funds to address the impact of the floods.

He said the declaration was initially endorsed during a meeting on Tuesday afternoon by officials of the affected barangays and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The Provincial Disaster Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) and Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon also supported the issuance of the calamity declaration, he said.

“The declaration will allow the municipal government to utilize its calamity funds to facilitate immediate interventions for the affected areas and residents,” Sinarimbo said in a radio interview.

As of noon Wednesday, PDRRMO personnel said they have not yet received any report from the municipal government regarding the calamity declaration.

He was referring to the 30 percent quick response component of the town’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund. The remaining 70 percent of the allocation is intended for disaster mitigation and preparedness programs of the local government.

Citing results of their initial assessment, Sinarimbo said the floods mainly affected portions of Barangays Katubao, Lumuyon, Nalus, Badtasan, Datu Dani and Poblacion.

He said the floods were triggered by the swelling of several rivers and creeks following nearly five hours of heavy rains spawned by the Low Pressure Area that affected parts of the country.

Hardest hit was Barangay Katubao where a total of 307 households in Sitios Maglangit, Baybay and Kitagas were swept by floodwaters that reached knee-deep high, Sinarimbo said.

He said the floods also affected 85 families in Barangay Lumuyon, 52 in Poblacion, 48 in Nalus, 40 in Badtasan and 28 in Datu Dani.

As of Tuesday night, Sinarimbo said four of the families who evacuated at the height of the floods still remained at the municipal gymnasium.

Sinarimbo said the four families were among the five who lost their homes after being swept by rampaging floodwaters.

He said eight houses situated near the riverbanks sustained partial damages as a result of the flashfloods.

As immediate intervention, Sinarimbo said the municipal government of Kiamba set the dredging and rechanneling of the heavily-silted Taluk River and the Pananag Creek.

He said the two tributaries have caused the heavy flooding in Barangays Katubao, Lumuyon and Datu Dani.

Rene Punzalan, Sarangani PDRRMO chief, said they were still assessing the extent of the damage caused by the floods, especially on the area’s infrastructure and agricultural crops.

But he said officials of the affected barangays initially reported that the floods affected rice and corn farmlands as well as coconut plantations in the area.

He said they also found breaches on the approaches of the Maglangit and Lumuyon bridges as a result of the floods.

“These bridges are partially closed and only light vehicles are allowed to pass by. But our public works personnel are already working on some remedial measures regarding the damaged approaches,” he added.