THANKFULLY, tropical depression Agaton spared Metro Cebu. For the most part, that is.
Residents of Barangays Paknaan and Casuntingan in Mandaue City were not so lucky.
The rains that fell early morning Tuesday resulted to a flood that affected around 200 families living in the city’s 6.5-hectare evacuation center in Zones Ahos, Sili, Talong in Paknaan.
But instead of going to the nearest evacuation center, as the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office had suggested, the families stayed put.
Maybe they thought they were better off saving their belongings from the rising water that entered their homes or maybe they just wanted to start cleaning as early as possible so their lives could return to normal.
Let’s put it this way, the fact that they weren’t forced to leave meant that their situation wasn’t so dire.
They were even given hot meals by the City Social Welfare and Services Office.
The 15 families in Sitio Lub-ang in Casuntingan were also provided with hot meals, but their situation was different.
They were living along the Butuanon River, which had started to overflow around 6 a.m. So they had no choice but to up and leave for higher ground.
However, when the water subsided two hours later, they were allowed to return to their homes.
There were no reported injuries. If there were any damages, these were minimal, too minimal, in fact, to be newsworthy.
But that’s not the case in southern Cebu where Agaton unleashed its wrath.
Residents were faced with either floods or landslides.
In the southwestern town of Malabuyoc, a 63-year-old woman was killed when a mudslide destroyed her house, which was located under a cliff, in Sitio North Suba in Barangay Looc.
Flora Matas and her family were already out of the house, but she went back inside to fetch something in her room.
Another man was killed in the town, but authorities didn’t consider his death as storm-related even though 39-year-old John Pimentel fell and hit his head after the flood swept away the bamboo stairs of his house in Barangay Sto. Niño.
In Boljoon, where a fault line in Barangay Lower Becerril caused several landslides last October and November, the mayor didn’t take any chances.
Aside from evacuating some areas, he also suspended classes at the central elementary and national high schools because of flooding.
Agaton’s winds were not a factor, only packing speeds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 90 kph. It was its rain, which started as slight drizzles before developing into heavy downpours, that caused the wanton destruction.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on January 04, 2018.
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