No reported casualty after 'Vinta' onslaught

TROPICAL Storm Vinta flooded almost the same areas as Tropical Storm Sendong but unlike six years ago, there were no recorded deaths or casualties in Cagayan de Oro, a city official said.

Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr., the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) head, said 24 barangays in the city were affected by the flooding and a total of 5,599 families or 21,512 individuals were evacuated on Friday.

"Wala pa kaming data na injured. Kahit merong ni-rescue, wala namang physically injured (We have not recorded any data on injured people. Even though we were able to rescue some people, they do not have any physical injuries on them)," the CSWD head said.

More than half of the total number of families who fled from their houses has started returning home to salvage what remains of their belongings, Sabuga-a said.

Sabuga-a said 2,799 families on Saturday, December 23, went back to their homes while 2,800 families or 10,960 individuals are still in evacuation centers.

He said out of the 5,599 individuals, 4,083 are children, 615 are senior citizens, 67 persons with disabilities, 286 lactating mothers, and 88 pregnant women.

CSWDO, however, recorded an estimated P9.5 million damaged infrastructures, both horizontal and vertical, in the city, although Sabuga-a said they expect it to get higher as number of damaged residential houses are still not recorded.

"Hindi pa natapos yung assessment. We have sa mga bahay hindi pa namin na kompleto yung ilan ba talaga ang nasira, totally damaged and partially damaged. Umiikot pa yung team namin (Our assessment is still ongoing. We still haven't completely recorded how many houses are totally and partially damaged. Our team is still moving around the city)," Sabuga-a said.

He added that the CSWD is still helping the families affected by Vinta especially those who are still in evacuation centers, together with some private sectors and non-government organizations such as Balay Mindanaw, SM Foundation, the business community, and among others.

Sabuga-a said after the clean-up in flood-affected areas, the evacuated families can go back to their homes by two to three days.

"Kung nasa danger zone sila [nakatira], hindi sila i-allow bumalik (If they are living in danger zone areas, they will not be allowed to go back) and will be relocated to the identified relocation sites," Sabuga-a said, adding that they have already started constructing houses in Lumbia.

Sabuga-a said they are expecting that the families will be relocated by 2018.

Meanwhile, some parts of the city have been experiencing water service interruption after the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) shut down the operations of production wells in Macasandig (Production Wells 7, 9 and 30) and Balulang (Production Wells 19 and 24) and the Macasandig Booster Station due to the increase water level in the area, which may contaminate the water supply.

According to the advisory of the COWD, among the affected areas were the City Proper, Nazareth, Macasandig, Camaman-an, Burgos, Consolacion, Lapasan, portions of Gusa, Puntod and Macabalan.

In order to restore normal water supply in the entire service area, the COWD said they will have to conduct a clean-up of the collector wells of Booster Pumps 1 and 2 and Production Wells 1, 7, 9, 30, 19 and 24 after which disinfection will be carried out.

Motors and controllers will also have to be rehabilitated before the wells can be commissioned back.

While doing the clean-up and rehabilitation work, which will take 12 days to complete according to COWD, the water district will install clustered faucets in Tomas Saco-15th, Pabayo-Dolores Sts., Lapasan Barangay Hall, and Kauswagan Highway (across SaveMore, beside McDonalds).

The COWD has also put up water tanks or bladders in barangay halls in Macasandig, Nazareth, Macabalan, Puntod, Camaman-an, and Aluba.

The water delivery, according to COWD, will continue to be facilitated to evacuation centers, hospitals and other waterless areas through the COWD tankers, Bureau of Fire Protection fire trucks and volunteer fire trucks. Extraction points for this purpose are along Sta. Cecilia Subdivision and along Capitol University Medical Center in Gusa.

The advisory added that even though the water from COWD sources is safe, the public will have to boil water for drinking purposes as contamination may have happened due to improper handling and storage.
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