Death toll from Davao flash flood now 30
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Searchers found the body of a male drowning victim aged between 40 and 50 on Friday, bringing to 30 the death toll from the flash flood that swept through Davao City’s Talomo district Tuesday night. One person was still unaccounted for and the authorities said there were little chances of finding the victim alive.
As this developed, Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government was studying a plan to relocate people living near river banks but this will have to be attended to later as the primary need now was to assist 15,000 families displaced by the flood.
“We will see how we can help them relocate, especially the informal settlers,” she said.
Duterte said the first task for the city goivernment was to conduct a housing census.
“For those who can afford to relocate, we can help them find an area but for the informal settlers, we need to help them build their homes,” she said.
Days before the flood, Duterte admitted that the city was helpless in combating floods. “I’ll be the first to say that it’s not possible when rivers overflow,” she said.
But Duterte said the city government would review existing measures against floods, saying it a comprehensive flood-control project would cost billions of pesos.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who visited displaced residents, admitted the national government should undertake serious measures against floods.
He said discussions with mayors have been held and that in the case of Davao, the plan was to look for a relocation area for people living in flood-prone areas.
“The government is not leaving you behind and we are studying what happened to make sure that this won’t happen again,” Binay told flood victims in Matina Crossing.
Binay said the relocation plan could also be implemented on a national scale.
He said under a national program, a review of the country’s flood control programs would also take place.
He said the national government understood that most of the flood control systems were now antiquated.
In Cotabato City, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday said the incidence of flooding in the country would also be tackled when the Senate resumes session.
Zubiri said it would be important to find out why floods still occur even if there are existing flood control systems.
“Flash flood is everywhere—in Mindanao, Luzon and the Visayas. Even the not-so vulnerable areas are not spared from the calamity,” he said.
“As legislators, we will assess and see what other flood control proposals could be undertaken at the floor,” Zubiri, chair of the Senate’s environment committee, said.
(Reports from Germelina Lacorte, Dennis Santos, Orlando Dinoy, Judy Quiros and Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao)