Lights were ablaze at 8 p.m. Sunday night at the gym of Brgy. 21-C or what is known as Piapi Boulevard, one of the evacuation sites of families displaced by strong monsoon waves starting Saturday morning. Families carved their own little spaces, stacking clothing and boxes to lend some sort of privacy in the shelter.
Nonoy Palopos, a resident living close to the gym said that families living near the shore came to the gym Saturday morning and continue to do so until Sunday evening. He said monsoon waves are strong in the months of July to September but this is the worst in recent memory. He recalled the same thing happened in 2005 when residents also fled for safety when strong waves lashed the houses in stilts, causing so much destruction.
According to the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office more than a thousand individuals are affected and living in makeshift shelters. Some 96 houses were totally destroyed and 140 were partially damaged. The figure is expected to increase until the monsoon season wanes.
Brgy. Kagawad Violeta Alceso said as precautionary measures, they already went around with their megaphones Friday, informing residents in the coastal areas of the strong waves and to prepare to evacuate if the situation worsens. She said the barangay officials are still monitoring the waves while catering to the needs of the evacuees.
Virgie Parada, 52, said they were barely able to gather their belongings when their house started to collapse. With her husband and three children, they were among the first to evacuate. Virgie said their house was the second house closest to the shore and when the waves battered the first house, its foundation collapsed, hitting their house. Houses fell like a stack of dominoes.
Like in any other evacuation centers, lack of amenities such as restrooms and availability of water for the evacuees’ needs may be lacking. The health situation of children, elderly and those with special needs may be put to the test. For school age children, their education may be compromised.
Mitigating the impact of natural disasters through improved capacity for urgent disaster response will continue to be a challenge to the local government units.