70 families in Lake Sebu advised to relocate due to multiple ground tension cracks

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Feb) – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 has recommended the immediate relocation of some 70 families from an upland village in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato due to the emergence of multiple ground tension cracks.

Engr. Efren Carido, MGB-12 regional director, said Friday their geological assessment showed that the affected community in Sitio Tuburan of Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu is no longer safe for dwelling and should be vacated by residents.

He said the area’s grounds, including the site of the Sitio Tuburan Elementary School, are no longer stable and might collapse anytime as indicated by the tension cracks.

“The residents are really facing a big risk. It’s dangerous for them to remain in the area,” he said.

Citing results of a recent assessment conducted by their geologists, Carido said the tension cracks were already seen in significant parts of the community and have reached some of the school buildings.

He said they specifically monitored the gradual movement of the buildings towards a nearby slope.

The foundations of the school buildings were found to be soft due to the presence of “unconsolidated materials,” causing “creeping mass movement,” he said.

Owing to this, Carido said the affected area might collapse anytime, depending on some triggering factors.

He said these include heavy rainfall, which could further loosen the soil and expand the tension cracks.

“Water seeping or penetrating the ground could cause hydraulic effects and turn into lubricants of the cracks,” he said.

Roberto Bagong, head of the Lake Sebu Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said they have been regularly monitoring the situation in the area pending the relocation of the affected residents.

He said they have educated the residents about the situation and necessary emergency response and evacuation mechanisms.

The official said a special task force composed of the MGB, Lake Sebu MDRRMO, Provincial DRRM Office and the municipal government has already been created to properly address the problem.

He said they already identified a possible relocation site for the community but said they are still “ironing out” some problems as the area is part of an ancestral domain and not properly titled. (MindaNews)