THE heavy downpour experienced in Cebu City for the past days has resulted in landslides in some parts of the city’s upland barangays leading to the destruction of three houses and displacement of nearly 10 families.
Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Harold Alcontin, in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, said two houses were totally destroyed in Sitio Kapasar in Barangay Budlaan, while one house was also totally destroyed in Sitio Tintay in Barangay Talamban on Monday, Sept. 11.
Alcontin said the landslide in Budlaan prompted the six families living in the area to evacuate, including the owners of the houses; while two other families from Sitios Tintay and Dao in Talamban were also evacuated.
The families affected by the landslide are currently staying in their respective barangay gyms and are provided with three days worth of food packs.
His office also facilitated the evacuation of families living in Sto. Nino Village affected by the flooding, but he said those were residents from Mandaue City.
Personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection 7 also joined in rescuing residents in Sto. Niño Village.
The subdivision is located in Banilad, Cebu City and Banilad, Mandaue City, but the majority of its land area is on the Mandaue side. The flooded part of the village was on the Mandaue side.
Alcontin said the heavy rains on Monday caused the Mahiga Creek to swell up.
He also said another factor blamed for the heavy flooding experienced for the past days was the clogged drainage facility along Gov. Cuenco Ave.
City’s stop-gap measures
In a separate interview, Cebu City Acting City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia outlined a series of immediate measures to address the city’s ongoing flood problems.
In an interview on Thursday, Sept. 14, Garcia announced that the city is mobilizing personnel to quickly clear and clean all drainage systems in uptown Cebu City. This operation is expected to be completed within the next two days.
He added that all department heads in the city have been assigned specific tasks to address issues in areas affected by the recent heavy rains.
The moderate to heavy rain showers were the result of thunderstorms in the afternoon and night on Wednesday, Sept. 13 in various parts of Metro Cebu.
Pagasa-Mactan Bureau Chief Engr. Alfredo “Al” Quiblat said they recorded a total of 65.9 millimeters (mm) of rainfall from Monday, Sept. 11 until Thursday. The highest was on Monday at 29.6 mm; 22.6 mm on Tuesday, and 13.7 mm on Wednesday.
Every one mm of rain is equivalent to 5,000 drums or barrels of rain per square kilometer, Pagasa Mactan said.
For the Banilad area, Garcia has instructed the redesign of the wall surrounding the parking space at Banilad Town Center. This redesign aims to improve water drainage in the area, as the wall, he said, has been preventing water from draining out of the area.
In the case of other affected areas, such as the vicinity near the Talamban-Canduman bridge where a house collapsed due to heavy rains, Garcia mentioned that he has personally visited the area with the City Engineering Office to plan necessary engineering interventions.
Garcia emphasized the importance of public participation in addressing the city’s flooding issues.
He urged citizens not to dispose of garbage indiscriminately, as clogged canals and waterways exacerbate the problem.
He also reminded the public to adhere to the three-meter easement law to prevent incidents like the one near the Talamban-Canduman bridge, highlighting the importance of being responsible citizens and the need for better implementation of existing laws. (JJL, AML)