GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 08 May) – Strong winds battered parts of South Cotabato on Friday, destroying at least 130 houses, various structures and crops and toppling power lines and huge trees.
Rolly Doane Aquino, acting head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said a number of barangays in five towns reported various damages as of Saturday morning due to the weather-related disturbance at around 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday.
Among those affected were four barangays in Tupi town, three in Tampakan and two in Lake Sebu.
There are areas in other municipalities that were also ravaged by the calamity but have not submitted their reports, he said.
Aquino said these include portions of Tboli town, including Barangay Poblacion, and Barangay Malaya in Banga.
“The rapid damage and needs assessment are still ongoing so we expect the affected areas and the reported damages to still increase,” he said in the provincial government’s radio program “PDRRMO Hour.”
Emil Sumagaysay, head of the Tupi Municipal DRRMO, said the strong winds, which came amid moderate rains, mainly affected communities and farm areas in Barangays Kablon, Linan, Simbo and Acmonan.
Hardest hit was Barangay Kablon, which reported three houses totally destroyed and 94 others sustaining partial damages. Some 20 houses in Linan and three others in Simbo were partially damaged.
He said they are still waiting the report on the damages and the number of affected residents in the upper portion of Acmonan.
They are also verifying possible damages to areas situated in the path of the weather disturbance, especially in Sitio Lamlatang of Barangay Miasong, he said.
“Power was cut off and has yet to be restored in Barangays Kablon and Linan due to the topped power lines,” Sumagaysay said in a radio interview.
He said vast areas of farm lands planted with high value crops such as banana, avocado, durian and various fruit-bearing vegetables were also damaged.
In Tampakan, Mayor Leonard Escobillo said the incident directly affected at least 30 families in Barangays Tablu, Danlag and Lampitak.
He said eight houses were totally destroyed and 10 were partially damaged in Danlag while two were totally destroyed and seven partially damage in Tablu.
In Lampitak, a poultry building worth over PHP1 million while about a hectare of harvestable Lacatan banana, both owned by the mayor’s family, were totally destroyed.
Also damaged were still undetermined number of houses of their workers and other residents in the area, he said.
“It was reported as strong wind but it appeared to be a tornado. It was very powerful that even huge trees were toppled,” said Escobillo, who was near the site during the incident.
He said a female resident sustained minor injuries after being hit by flying tree debris.
The mayor said they sent initial food supplies to the affected families as well as hardware supplies to facilitate the immediate repair of the damaged houses. (MindaNews)