19 families forcibly evacuated in Koronadal due to landslides

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/24 November) — The city government forcibly evacuated 19 families from an upland village here due to a series of landslides triggered by heavy rains on Wednesday night.

Cyrus Urbano, city administrator, said Thursday they monitored “pockets of landslides” in portions of Sitios Olom-Lao, Oloclofe and Lower Ladol of Barangay Assumption that closed down roads and threatened communities in the area.

He said strong water current from upstream in a creek traversing the village worsened the situation.

Owing to this, he said they implemented the forced evacuation of residents at a portion of Sitio Lower Ladol at around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“Based on our assessment, the situation in the area is very delicate due to the pockets of landslides,” he said in an interview over radio station dxKR.

Urbano, who heads the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the forced evacuation was facilitated by rescuers from the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The affected residents, which comprise 40 individuals, are currently taking temporary shelter at an evacuation center in Purok Ramos in Barangay Sta. Cruz, he said.

The official said the city government provided food and other assistance while concerned residents donated cooking utensils and related items to the evacuees, who are mostly from the B’laan tribe.

Urbano said personnel from the City Engineer’s Office will be deployed to the area on Thursday morning to clear the affected roads of debris.  

He said they have yet to decide whether the affected residents would be allowed to return to the site.

Citing their assessment, he said most parts of Barangay Assumption are considered as high risk to landslides.

He said the local government, in a directive from City Mayor Peter Miguel, is presently looking for potential relocation areas for residents settled in the identified landslide-prone areas.

Several possible resettlement sites were earlier considered but most of them have conflicts in terms of ownership, he said.  

Urbano said they are also facing difficulty in terms of relocating the tribal residents due to their cultural attachment to the area.

“They lived there for decades and have adopted to the place,” he said.

As temporary solution, Urbano said they trained residents on alert systems and response measures in case disasters would hit their communities. (MindaNews)