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Exodus at dusk| 800 evacuated individuals have returned home

THE MAJORITY of the 800 individuals who deserted their homes on Tuesday after the Talomo River swelled and floodwaters rose have already returned to their homes yesterday.

Alfredo Baloran, City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said the number of individuals, as recorded by the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), were mostly residents of Tugbok and Talomo districts. 

As of 4:57 p.m. on Tuesday, there was a reported overflow of Barangay Balengaeng Creek, one of the tributaries of Talomo River.

The CDRRMO then advised the barangay officials along Talomo River channels to preposition resources, alert the communities,  and closely monitor flood-prone and landslide-prone areas. 

“There are many portions of the city that experienced floodings (Tuesday) because of the heavy rains brought by the low-pressure area in Davao Gulf, which brings localized thunderstorms with lightning,” Baloran said. 

He added that the upland areas in Calinan and Tacunan were battered by a heavy downpour. 

The affected parts in the Tugbok area included St. Benedict Heights, which has been hit by perennial flashfloods. 

” It was still affected but not that much, the water level just rises, we evacuated there 15 families and we brought them to Tugbok gym, ” he said. 

The rains in the upland area dumped large volumes of water in Talomo proper, forcing residents in Barangay Taal, Bulusan, NHA Phase 3, and Sunnyville Subdivision to leave their homes.

He said more or less 600 families in those areas were evacuated and they temporarily stayed at the Lady of Lourdes Parish gym and Central Park covered court. 

“We separated the evacuees so that they will not be crowded in just one evacuation center, ” he said, adding that they made sure physical distancing and wearing of masks were being observed. 

Aggravating the floods was the high tide that was recorded at 12 midnight of Aug. 5. The waters receded around an hour later.

“We also allowed them because there was no threat seen already, no bulks of water that will cause danger downstream, rivers are already at a safe level, and that’s what we have done yesterday, ” the CDRRMO chief further said. 

The CSSDO’s mobile kitchen was also deployed to the evacuation centers to distribute food to the evacuees.

Boy drowns

In a separate interview,  Maj. Ricky Obenza,  the commander of Tugbok Police Station, said the boy, a resident of Barangay Ula, Tugbok District, was swimming and playing with his 4-year-old brother on a five-foot canal under heavy rain.

The Central 911 rescue team, led by Rosareth Migellano, Barangay Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council personnel of Barangay Ula, led by Barangay Kagawad Jefferson Idoy, and the CDRRMO team were immediately dispatched to find the missing boy.

At 6 p.m., the rescue operation was terminated due to the strong current. The boy’s body was found entangled on a fishnet about half-a-kilometer away.

Baloran said that the boy’s tragic death was not related to the flooding.

Be alert 

Meanwhile, the CDRRMO chief said that while the residents were allowed to return home when the water subsided, they were also advised to remain vigilant and evacuate at the first sign of trouble. 

He said the weather advisory from Pagasa forecast heavy rains and thunderstorms in Davao Gulf.

“We have to expect heavy rains during the afternoon so all the time we should be alert, especially the barangay disaster response team, which must continue to monitor those people living near danger zone areas, ” Baloran said. 

He also expects people to cooperate during a preemptive evacuation because they are trying to avoid senseless deaths from the natural calamity. Baloran said that if people fail to heed their warnings, the lives of the rescuers are needlessly risked.

Mayor Sara Duterte also reiterated the importance of listening to the authorities. 

“May we remind everyone nga once magsulti og preemptive evacuation ang atong City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and Barangay Risk Reduction and Management Office, kinahanglan mapatuman ta sa pre-emptive evacuation so that dili ta maabot sa punto nga kinhanglan na ta i-rescue dinha sa atoang lugar once na kusog o taas na kaayo ang tubig baha (If the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and Barangay Risk Reduction and Management Office orders a preemptive evacuation, we have to obey so that we would not reach the point of needing to be rescued)” she said.   

Duterte directed the City Health Office to distribute face masks to the evacuees as a precautionary measure against coronavirus disease.

According to the CDRRMO, the Talomo District, Bunawan District, Agdao District, and Buhangin District experienced moderate to heavy rains while the rest of the city experienced cloudy skies with intermittently scattered rain showers.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office dispatched its mobile kitchen to distribute food to residents affected by the flood.  With reports from MindaNews

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