SouthCot seeks urgent aid to rehab infra destroyed by floods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 June) — South Cotabato officials appealed to the national government on Friday for immediate assistance to repair infrastructure destroyed by Wednesday’s floods

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said they specifically need the government’s intervention for the repair and reconstruction of a damaged dike in Banga town, three vital bridges in Koronadal City and several road networks.

“We can provide for the rehabilitation of our damaged roads and bridges if they will cost less than P10 million but beyond that, we really need the help of the national government,” she said.

In an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) recommended the declaration of the entire province under a state of calamity as a result of Wednesday’s floods and landslides, which left three people dead and about 1,000 others displaced.

The floods and landslides, which came following hours of moderate to heavy rains, damaged an estimated P100 million worth of crops and infrastructure.

It affected parts of Koronadal City and the municipalities of Banga, Tantangan, Norala and Tupi.

Based on the council’s assessment, at least 21 infrastructure facilities in the area were damaged by the floods and need immediate rehabilitation.

A total of 907 hectares of palay, 80.5 hectares of corn, 4.25 hectares of fish ponds and five hectares of cassava were also devastated.

Aside from the calamity declaration, the governor said the PDRRMC has passed a resolution requesting immediate funding assistance from the national government.

She said they addressed the request to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

“Our priority right now is the repair and reconstruction of the damaged bridges and flood control projects,” said Fuentes, who heads the PDRRMC.

Engr. Generosa Capundan, assistant provincial engineer, said three of the damaged bridges are all in Koronadal City.

She said the bank protection of the Sto. Nino Bridge, which links five barangays, needs immediate repair.

The official sad they need to reconstruct the retaining wall and bank protection of the Concepcion Bridge, which connects two barangays serves as an alternate route to the municipality of Tampakan.

For the Namnama Bridge, she said they need to construct a new 60-meter structure.

The bridge’s center foundation and three slab flooring collapsed during the floods.

Meantime, Fuentes said they also passed a resolution increasing the emergency shelter assistance for calamity victims from P3,000 “to an amount enough to build a temporary house.”

As of Friday, she said most of the estimated 300 families who evacuated last Wednesday have returned home.

Only two families remained in an evacuation center in Tupi town after their homes were totally destroyed in a landslide in Barangay Bunao.

“We will immediately realign our available funds so we can assist the affected municipalities in acquiring resettlement areas,” she said. (Analiz Cabrido / MindaNews contributor)