Quantcast
Latest Stories

Residents of destroyed town urged to unite for rebuilding after ‘Pablo’

By

A resident covers his nose as he walks past typhoon Pablo’s victims which are left unattended at New Bataan town in Compostela Valley on Dec. 8, 2012. Almost a month after the typhoon wreaked havoc, officials urged residents to unite in the face of the daunting tasks of rebuilding and reconstruction. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley—Almost a month after typhoon Pablo (Bopha) flattened this town on Dec. 4, officials here urged residents to unite in the face of the daunting tasks of rebuilding and reconstruction, admitting that it would take them some time to get over the loss of lives and property.

This whole idyllic town still lay in ruins and the stench of death still pervaded the air more than a month after the storm’s howling wind and torrential rains devastated Andap, a community of more than 2,000 people, claiming 400 lives.

“Honestly, we are not yet OK,” said Mayor Lorenzo Balbin. “People are still depending on assistance as we try to bring our lives back to what it used to be.”

Assistance from local, national and international relief agencies has been pouring in New Bataan since the catastrophe struck and people have been trying to live off it, Balbin said.

It was a Tuesday that Fretchel dela Victoria and other New Bataan residents would never remember.

Rumbling sound

“We heard a rumbling sound and then saw a tall wall of water roaring towards us. We ran as fast as we could, not minding if we had brought something other than the clothes we had on,” the 32-year old resident of Purok (Community) 3, Poblacion, which is near Andap, told the Inquirer as she and other residents did their laundry at a water pipe beside a flooded road leading to Andap.

Trees uprooted by Pablo’s 175-kilometer-per hour-winds choked the upper portion of Mayo River, creating an artificial dam, which eventually collapsed under the huge volume of rainwater that accumulated there, Balbin said.

“The collapse of the artificial dam created a high, wide wall of water that descended downstream, washing away communities below it,” said the mayor.

Residents who survived the disaster said they saw uprooted trees and boulders rolling with the wall of murky water “as tall as two full-grown coconut trees.”

“Like a tidal wave,” said 73-year old Carlos de la Torre, who along with his wife and at least 50 others ran off to a hill as floodwaters swept through the village. “I thought we would die that day.”

Denial

Local officials had denied that logging and mining aggravated the disaster, with Balbin saying in previous interviews the local government had banned such activities in the mountains around Andap.

The mayor pointed to the many things that should be done to bring back normalcy to the town.

All of New Bataan’s 16 villages suffered destruction as a result of the flood or the strong wind, or both.

“Homes are in shambles, people’s livelihoods still in disarray,” Balbin told the Inquirer at his office on the second floor of the municipal building, which sustained damage. “But we cannot lose hope. We have to rise again.”

As rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts continue, people in this town have slowly come to accept evacuation as part of their life.

Traumatized

People are so traumatized with last month’s storm, they become jittery at the first sign of rains, according to Marlon Esperanza, municipal information officer.

He said the local government, not wanting to take chances, has decided to enforce preemptive evacuation, whenever necessary.

At least 210 families or roughly 1, 000 individuals were evacuated from six communities in Poblacion and Andap village since Wednesday due to continuous rains, Esperanza said. The evacuees stayed in various schools, crowding further the evacuation centers still occupied by residents made homeless by Pablo, and putting off the resumption of classes last Thursday.

“We don’t want a repeat of the Dec. 4 disaster,” said Balbin, in ordering the forced evacuation.

Balbin said he has asked the government through Undersecretary Benito Ramos of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to help the local government in the planned re-channeling of the Mayo River.

He said “correcting” the course of the river and de-silting it and other waterways would help manage the flow of water during rains and prevent flooding.

“We found out (during flooding) water already runs through roads instead on riverbeds,” said Balbin.

Rebuilding Compostela

Late last month, the provincial government has kicked off a campaign of rebuilding Compostela Valley.

Dubbed “Tindog ComVal: Walang Iwanan (Stand ComVal: Leave no one behind),” the advocacy exhorts Compostela Valley residents to unite and help one another rebuild, according to Gov. Arturo Uy.

“This is to rally the people to work together for us to move on,” said Uy.

The governor said the outpouring of support from different groups has helped residents in the devastated province focus their attention on rebuilding and rehabilitation.

In New Bataan, Balbin also urged his people to immediately buckle down to work, with aid still coming.

The two officials also expressed gratitude to various aid groups that have sent help

To compensate for the losses in agriculture—the province’s main livelihood—the government gave bags of seeds and seedlings for “quick cash crops” such as corn, cacao, palay and vegetables.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More Philippine Weather News

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bopha , Calamities , Compostela Valley , cyclones , Disasters , floods , landslides , Local authorities , Local Governments , Lorenzo Balbin , mayors , Pablo , Philippines - Regions , rebuilding , Reconstruction , relief and rehabilitation , rescue , typhoons , Weather




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  5. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  6. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  7. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  8. Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  9. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  10. Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Ex-church leader nabbed for selling drugs
  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Sports

  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1
  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming
  • Murray breaks down in tears at Scottish ceremony
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement