Low flood casualty, thousands rescued

DESPITE having had to scramble up roofs and wait for rescuers until the wee hours of the morning as Davao River breached its banks and flooded riverside communities in the three districts of Davao City, there was no reported casualty due to the rampaging floodwaters.

But the City Government is now appealing to residents who want to help the evacuees, the most needed help is clean, potable water. Donors can bring them over to the Davao City Hal, or they can bring them to the evacuation centers listed below with one advise: Coordinate with the center in-charge so that distribution will be systematized.

With just clothes on their backs

Irene B. Donor, 51, a resident of Barangay 5A, Purok 6-B, Bankerohan Davao City, said her first concern were her grandchildren.

“Ang bata sa jud ang gi-una nako ug evacuate (I evacuated the children first),” she said.

She said there was a noticeable rise in the level of riverwater around 3 p.m. December 22, 2017, but she did not give it much heed, not realizing that it would swell in just minutes.

“Kumpyansa kaayo ko unya nikalit lang man ug dako, nidagan ko sa Baraiko (Bankerohan) kay naa didto akong mga apo (I was really complacent, and then I noticed that it suddenly became very big, I rushed to Baraiko since my grandchildren are there),” she said.

Donor said that her in-law and her two grandchildren, one year old, and two years old were the only ones in their house at that time so she had the help of her child, a Grade 5 student at the Kapitan Tomas Elementary School to carry the children as their mother is packing some clothes.

She wasn't able to save anything else. Not even the school uniforms of her children -- one in college and one in elementary school. Her child in college is doing part-time job in a fast food chain while she works as a street sweeper.

It was a double whammy for several families in Bankerohan who were among the 200 families who lost their homes to a fire in puroks 6A and 6B of the same barangay last December 5, 2017.

Domingo Apale, 41, said he just bought five sacks of cement from the financial assistance they received from the local government of Davao after they lost their house to the fire.

“Pero useless gihapon kay naanod tanan (The sacks of cement were swept away by the flood),” he said.

Arturo Beralde, neighbor of Apale said that he had also bought some lumber and some house construction materials before the flood to start rebuilding their house that was razed by the fire. He bought the construction materials using the P10,000 cash assistance he received from the City Government just last December 21 as his house was razed to the ground.

“Guot na kaayo sa barangay hall, gusto namimakabalhin (The barangay gym is too congested, we really wanted to have our own space again),” Beralde said.

The flood carried away these construction materials.

Now, both men are back at the Barangay 5-A gym.

Residents were gathered outside the Barangay Pag-asa hall for the initial listing of those who are affected by flood.

Alma Jupia, 56, said that she cannot yet avail another form of assistance since as fire victim who received assistance recently, they already have a card, and they are still receiving ration as fire victims.

On the night of the flood, she said, she had to secure first her daughter-in-law who was five months pregnant, and thus they lost the little possession they had.

Fellow fire victims Mary Ann C. Deligero, 42, and Helen C. Patiluna,45, said they lost everything to the fire.

Experiencing floodwaters that reached their roofs were residents of Jade Valley in Tigatto, Buhangin District. Located in the floodplain of Davao River and surrounded by an oxbow lake, meaning the whole subdivision used to be where the Davao River meandered, Jade Valley is among the most flood-prone whenever the rive breaches its banks.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go was sighted rescuing residents in Tigatto on his jetski at around midnight.
Rescuers had difficulty entering Jade Valley as it has turned to a river with very strong currents, making it almost impossible for rescue boats to navigate through.

According to the Davao City Information Office, around 10 am in the morning last Friday, 6, 614 families or 31, 375 individuals affected by flood in Davao City.

The displaced families are now situated at 18 evacuation centers.
Evacuation centers include: 1. Tamugan Gym 2. DMMABuhangin 3.Buhangin Gym 4. Maa Elementary School 5.UM Matina Campus 6.Lasang Barangay Hall 7.Brokenshire Gym 8. Mandug Gym 9. Sa Rafael Gym 10. SIR Phase 2 Gym 11.Upper Madapo Gym 12.Bankerohan Gym 13. Waan Gym 14. Uyanguren Gym 15. El Rio Gym 16.Barangay Bantol Gym 17.BaramhayDominga — House of Barangay Captain Lomandas 18. Barangay Lampianao — Dumalag Elementary School.

The city government advised private companies and individuals who intend to donate for the flood victims to drop donations at the City Hall to ensure that the items are distributed systematically and received by the validated victims.

They are also advised that if they personally want to distribute assistance they can coordinate with the people who manage the evacuation center so that your distribution may be done in an orderly manner.

Still on alert

Meanwhile, as floodwaters subsided on Saturday, local governments are still monitoring the situation as the Mindanao will still experience moderate rains and thunderstorms brought about by tropical depression Vinta.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), in weekly weather forecast, said that as Vinta moves out into West Philippine Sea, light easterlies to variable winds will prevail across the country.

"All concerned government agencies are advised to standby and monitor the situation. There is also a report that the dam in Bukidnon province released water and will still release water, but we still don't know the exact details yet, pero medyo umuulan pa sa probinsiya," Task Force (TF) Davao commander Col. Nolasco Mempin said.

Flood-affected residents and those who are living in a flood-prone area were advised to take precautionary measures in case the waters in the rivers rise again, Mempin said.

"Kahapon naman kung titignan mo parang maayos lang yung panahon hanggang sa unti-unti ng umaakyat yung tubig at nag overflow na. Dinagdagan pa ng malakas na pag-ulan. Mabuti na yung laging handa at ma-ingat," Mempin said.

Fake news

Social media was abuzz Saturday following rumors that no less than the management of the Pulangi Hydroelectric Dam in Maramag, Bukidnon warned that it will be releasing waters and that these waters will be expected to pour into Davao River enough to cause flashfloods.

The Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee, in its official statement, clarified that the Pulangi Dam of the Pulangi Hydroelectric Dam in Maramag, Bukidnon will not cause flooding in the Davao area as the dam has no significant water storage that could cause or influence severe flooding downstream.

The Pulangi River, where the dam releases water to, is also not connected in any way to Davao River. Instead, the water spill from the dam will go to Rio Grande de Mindanao, which empties into Illana Bay in Cotabato City.

While the Pulangi dam does release water during heavy rains in Valencia, Bukidnon, the volume of water it releases has no potential to cause flooding.

Forces deployed

TF Davao's Mempin said aside from monitoring the situation, personnel of the Task Force Davao and the Davao City Police Office (TFD and DCPO) are deployed to ensure the safety of the public, particularly those people affected of the flashflood.

The Police Regional Office (PRO) 11, meanwhile, noted 99 flood-affected areas in Davao region, with one dead; three missing; one injured, and almost 32,000 evacuated as of 11 a.m. on December 23, Saturday.

Police identified the fatality as Antonio Babao, of the riverside at San Rafael in Barangay 9-A, Maa in Davao City, while three missing were Cornelia Antipala, 78, from Monkayo town in Compostela Valley; Jailyn Paja, a one-year and seven months old, from New Corella town in Davao del Norte; and Reven Indong, 16, from Barangay 8-A in Davao City. The injured was identified as Salvador Aranses, 76, from Monkayo town in Compostela Valley.

PRO-Davao spokesperson Chief Inspector Andrea dela Cerna said the region has also recorded 30 persons and 75 vehicles had been stranded and 189 destroyed houses and infrastructures due to heavy downpour and flood caused by Vinta.

Three houses in Barangay Macgum and one at Sitio Palo, Barangay Limbaan in Davao del Norte were destroyed; 165 houses within Davao City and one handing bridge in Barangay Mandug; and 20 nipa houses in Compostela Valley.

Dela Cerna said 13 houses in New Corella town were also damaged due to the strong winds and flood, another 13 houses in Carmen town and one in Tagum City, all in Davao del Norte province; and 28 affected-areas in Davao City.

As to the road condition, a road in Barangay Guadalupe and in Barangay Tuganay, all in Carmen in Davao del Norte, are not passable as of the moment. In Davao City, only streets in flood-affected areas are not available for vehicles.

Dela Cerna said the police have already deployed 371 personnel to secure the flood-affected areas and other areas of the region, while 492 personnel are on standby in case of emergency.

Flood situation in some parts of the Davao City have already subsided, except Jade Valley and Buhangin in Davao City.

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