THE Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Davao said that no casualties or major damages were recorded in the onslaught of Tropical Storm Vinta (international codename: Tembin) which brought heavy rains and widespread flooding in Davao Region.
However, close to 10,000 individuals were displaced and were temporarily evacuated to safer grounds.
OCD-Davao regional director Leoncio Cirunay said that as of 12 p.m. Friday, there were a total of 2,199 families or 9,844 individuals evacuated by their respective local government units (LGU).
In Davao Oriental, there were 1,226 families or 6,130 individuals; 38 families or 130 individuals in Davao City; 45 families or 156 individuals in Davao Occidental and 890 families or 3,428 individuals in Compostela Valley.
“All IDPs (internally-displaced persons) were preemptively evacuated. As of this time no untoward incidents monitored due to TS Vinta,” Cirunay said.
Prior to Vinta's landfall in Davao Region, they already raised the alert level to Blue Alert status which directs the prepositioning of all response assets and activated the Incident Command System (ICS).
This also means that the Incident Management Teams, government offices and agencies, including the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will be ready to deploy their responders, distribute relief goods and make use of their facilities, like school buildings, to be utilized as temporary evacuation centers for displaced and affected residents.
“We directed all our emergency operations centers (EOC) from municipal, cities and provincial level. We also conducted pre disaster risk assessment (PDRA), activated our incident management team (IMT) to include our volunteers responders,” he said.
By Saturday, December 23, OCD with other agencies and LGUs are planning to conduct the rapid damage analysis and needs assessment.
He also attributed the lesser damages and no casualties to the cooperation of the public when they were told to leave their houses.
“Tumaas ang awareness and resiliency ng mga tao kasi palagi tayong nagbabalita sa kanila kung ano ang gagawin kung meron disaster at hindi din masyadong malakas ang Vinta,” he said.
Davao City situation
Renante Luna, Matina Crossing Vice Chairperson of Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (BDRRMC), said that a total of 11 families composed of 44 individuals evacuated their homes before the floodwaters rose.
But most have returned as the rains trickled down and the river water level dropped. There were only two families composed of 16 individuals who were at the center as of 10 a.m. Friday.
“Our system here is that if we can observe an increase in water level, we will sound the alarm, despite how little the increase is. This (alarm) means that there is already an increase in water levels, and this serves as a warning for people. By the sound of the second alarm, people should already be ready for evacuation and third alarm means forced evacuation,” he said.
He added that their barangay hall in Barangay 74-A have a capacity of 300 persons per floor. Each floor also has comfort rooms.
There was no significant increase in river level evening of December 21, but they were still on alert as it was reported that the Buda River has overflowed and this can bring water to Pangi River.
Luna said that they expect the water from Buda to arrive Matina Pangi by 3 p.m. Friday.
He said that the Buda River is connected to Marilog, which is also connected to Tamugan, then to Malagos then to Pangi.
“It you can see in the map, from Tamugan, there is an arrow which shows that it can become a tributary, it can give water to Catalunan Grande going to Biao Skwela and to New Valencia, down to Matina Pangi River,” he said.
He said that they rely on the early warning systems, and not primarily on their rescue operations.
“Through early warning system, we can lessen the impact, since people are given alarm as early as possible, and could evacuate. This lessens the number of lives lost,” he said.
The Matina Pangi River have a history of increase water levels despite light rains experienced in the Davao city central area, this is due to the heavy rains from the upper parts of the city.
Last 2011, a flashflood cost more than 30 lives in Matina Pangi.
Based on the weather bulletin issued by Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) at 5 p.m. Friday, Vinta have weakened into a tropical depression while traversing the northern part of Davao Region but it still triggered scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains over Visayas and Mindanao within 24 hours.