DAVAO CITY – More than 5,000 families or 25,000 individuals have been affected by the flooding that hit riverside villages here following non-stop rain since Saturday night.
The city government has called off classes from kindergarten to high school, in both public and private schools, Monday as the city continues to assess the extent of the damage from one of the worst flooding the city has experienced in the past years.
Emmanuel Jaldon, the chief of the Davao City Disaster Risk and Management Council (DCDRMC), said local officials have issued the warning as early 9 p.m. Saturday because of the overflowing of the Tamugan river, one of the main tributaries of the Davao river.
As a result, at least 12 barangays (villages) lining down Davao river was submerged in flood.
Jaldon, however, said some residents who have already been used to floods, refused to evacuate, which was the reason some of them were trapped.
“The problem is their coping threshold, most of them have already experienced the worst of flooding, so, they just don’t evacuate until the waters reach critical level,” he said. “They still stayed on the second floor of their houses, believing they still have a second chance.”
Jaldon also said the rain still continues in the upland areas of Davao City, and that as of 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the water continues to rise.
Dante Donayre, operations chief of the DCDRMC, said that despite the disaster-preparedness training held for community leaders in the past, the disaster-preparedness is still wanting in the community level as elected barangay officials still fail to re-echo these in the communities.
Malou Bermudo, chief of the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), said a total of 5,165 families from 12 city barangays affected by the flood are now in different evacuation centers; among them, are 2,700 families from Buhangin area, which covered the Jade Valley and Juliville Subdivisions.
Choreyn Mae Dumape, 20, a resident of Jade Valley who was rescued from the top of their house, said her parents were still inside the village.
“My parents are still there,” Dumape said, adding that the water rose at around 1 a.m. Sunday.
In Compostela Valley, at least 178 families have left their homes, even as authorities forced some residents to evacuation centers as water levels in major rivers there continue to rise, threatening low-lying communities, according to Raul Villocino, provincial disaster officer.
In neighboring Davao del Norte province, over 800 people have been evacuated overnight as floodwater swamped the rice-producing municipalities of Kapalong, Sto. Tomas, Braulio Dujali and Asuncion, said Romulo Tagalo, Davao del Norte assistant administrator.
Those evacuated, according to Villocino, included 129 families in the villages of Andap, Cogonon and Cabinuangan, in New Bataan, the town which suffered the most number of casualties in last December’s killer storm.
At least 37 families also headed to the evacuation centers in Basak and Magsaysay villages in Nabunturan, while 12 families from Sitio (Sub-village) Pag-ibig, in the mining village of Mt. Diwalwal in Monkayo town sheltered at the village hall due to fear of a landslide, the disaster official said.
Waist-deep floodwater has submerged most of Maniki village, the center of Kapalong town, forcing many residents to flee to safer grounds, Mayor Edgardo Timbol said. Germelina Lacorte, Dennis Jay Santos, Karlos Manlupig, Ayan C. Mellejor and Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao