Cold spell kills livestock; Cebu brgy in state of calamity

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


CEBU CITY -- Landslides that destroyed houses and a cold spell that killed some livestock compelled Balamban town to declare a state of calamity in one of its mountain barangays, officials said on Tuesday.

A Cebu City councilor reported that some heads of cattle died and vegetable plots withered as the temperature kept dropping in the city’s mountain barangays.

From 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday, the temperature in Cebu dropped to 21.8 degrees Celsius, the coldest so far this year, said Oscar Tabada, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan.

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In Cebu’s mountain barangays, the temperature probably reached close to 18.2 degrees Celsius, Tabada said.

Landslide in Balamban, Cebu
THE GROUND BENEATH THEIR FEET. A landslide has dislodged several houses, including this one, in Barangay Gaas, Balamban town, where at least 246 residents have had to be relocated. (Arni Aclao/Sun.Star Cebu)


In Mindanao, the low-pressure area that used to be Tropical Depression Agaton continued to bring rain and thunderstorms across four regions. As many as 45 have died and 68 suffered injuries from 16 landslides and six major floods.

The national disaster council reported as of Tuesday that more than 44,700 families or 206,000 persons have been displaced by Agaton and are now taking shelter in 569 evacuation centers spread across 103 towns.

Cold spell

Damage to property and crops has reached P383.9 million, with at least 2,109 houses either destroyed or damaged.

In Cebu, the cold spell’s toll was reported in parts of Balamban town and Cebu City’s mountain barangays.

Tabada attributed the cold weather in Cebu to the “amihan” or northeast monsoon and the cold front that is threatening the rest of the country. (But Cebu has known cold spells before, Tabada also pointed out. In January 1997, the temperature here dropped to as low as 19.2 degrees Celsius.)

In Balamban town, 11 cows, a carabao, a horse and an undisclosed number of goats have died in Barangay Gaas.

Barangay Gaas captain Willian Genel told Sun.Star Cebu an estimated five hectares of corn plantations and fewer than 20 hectares of vegetable plantations were damaged by the unusual weather.

In Cebu City, livestock and crops were also affected when cold weather hit some of its mountain barangays.

A radio dyLA report on Tuesday quoted Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak as saying that in some of the city’s mountain barangays, cows and vegetables have died due to the cold weather.

Moved

Both local government units were still coming up with an estimate on the damage as of Tuesday.

Aside from the cold weather, heavy rains have also caused some residential lands in Sitio Proper in Barangay Gaas to give way.

As of Tuesday, about 246 residents have been relocated to safer ground after their homes were damaged by the landslide.

Genel also reported that three houses were destroyed. About eight to 10 houses in the area are in danger of being dislodged if the ground keeps moving.

Genel’s house was not spared.

Pepito Bastida, one of the affected residents, revealed that he and his family were forced to leave their house after they found large cracks on the ground.

Three days since they left the house, Bastida was shocked to find that half of it had collapsed when the ground gave way.

Genel also revealed that classes in the Gaas Elementary School were suspended.

Classes in the Gaas National High School were also suspended as their facilities are being used as evacuation centers.

Displacement

During a visit to the barangay on Tuesday, Al Emil Berador of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) found that the affected areas already have signs of sliding and displacement.

Berador, who is MGB-Central Visayas’ chief geologist, believes that the landslide could worsen as the movements in the ground are still active.

He suggested that some areas no longer be used as residential communities.

Berador said the continuous rains, which have plagued the area for at least two weeks, oversaturated the ground, causing parts of it to give way.

Balamban Mayor Ace Stefan Binghay said that with the declaration of a state of calamity in Barangay Gaas, officials are preparing the town’s P10-million calamity fund to help the affected residents there. (JKV/With FMG/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2014.

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