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Heavy rains in Cebu City

Landslide in disaster-prone community kills 2

By: - Day Desk Editor / @dbongcac
/ 05:30 AM September 23, 2017

Police and rescuers check the site of a deadly landslide in Sitio Lower Ponce in the village of Capitol Site, Cebu City. —JUNJIE MENDOZA/CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY—A landslide in a slum community already tagged as disaster-prone killed two people and prompted the evacuation of dozens of others on Thursday.

Nagiel Bañacia, head of the city’s disaster risk reduction management office, said heavy rains on Thursday afternoon loosened soil and sent debris  from Sitio Lower Ponce, an elevated community of informal settlers in the village of Capitol Site,  hurtling down to houses below.

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The dead were identified as Elpedio Geraga, 64, and Juvelyn Sanipa, 31, residents of Capitol Site.

Banacia, in his Facebook post, said it took rescuers at least four hours to pull out the victims’ bodies from a pile of earth, fallen bamboo trees and slabs of collapsed walls and ceilings.

‘Too risky’

Four families living in Capitol Site were evacuated to the village hall as authorities said soil in the area was unstable and too risky for residents to stay.

The rains started at 3 p.m. on Thursday and brought knee-deep floods to downtown Cebu City.

Sitio Lower Ponce, where the landslide occurred, was among several areas in the city identified as prone not only to landslides and flooding but also fire.

Sitting some 25 meters from the village road and having a 45-degree slope, Sitio Lower Ponce is  a densely populated area and home to hundreds of informal settlers.

‘Prone to disasters’

“It is a hazard, high-risk area that is prone to landslides, flooding and fire,” Bañacia said, adding that some houses a few meters above the landslide area had been damaged by fire last year.

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Bañacia said the landslide was a reminder for the city to finish its comprehensive land use plan, which was started in the 1990s but had yet to be completed.

He said the plan, which was last updated in 2010, remained pending at the city planning office because some data, such as the city’s existing zoning plan, still needed to be updated.

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TAGS: Cebu, dead, disaster, heavy rains, Landslide
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