CDRRMO reiterates call to prevent new settlers to hazard-prone areas

The Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) is again urging all barangay governments to take a more proactive role in disaster preparedness by stopping new settlers from occupying places identified as hazard-prone areas.

This, after the flooding and mass wasting brought by the shear line weather system caused deaths and destruction in high-risk areas in the city. The extreme weather phenomenon also resulted in the evacuation of hundreds of families living near river systems and landslide-prone areas.

In the initial report of the CDRRMO’s still ongoing Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA), as of January 24 the flooding incidents in Poblacion, Talomo, Buhangin, Toril, Bunawan, Marilog, Tugbok, Calinan, and Paquibato displaced some 411 families.

Based on the same report, the landslides in Catalunan Grande, Tigatto, Salaysay, Dalag, Marilog Proper, and Magsaysay claimed two lives and displaced at least 70 families.

Another 14 families in Awhag Village, Barangay 19-B were also displaced due to mass wasting on Wednesday.

Maria Cristina Sunga-Villegas, acting head of CDRRMO Research and Planning, said these affected areas have long been identified as danger zones. Barangay officials in these areas have also been amply informed of the dangers and trained to prepare for the most likely disasters. Barangay governments, she said, were also told to stop more people from dwelling there due to the risks.

However, despite strong warnings from the CDRRMO, people still occupy danger zones.

“Dili gyud na maiwasan na kung bakante ang lugar and then safe ang panahon, mutukod gyud na’g mga panimalay dinha, and once makatukod na na sila’g panimalay dinha ang lisod na bungkagon sila (It is inevitable that if the place is vacant in a time of safety, people will take residence there, and once they have settled, it will be difficult to uproot them),” she said during the I-speak media forum on Thursday.

She said residents in coastal areas and near river systems tend to extend their houses closer to the water as their families also grow in size. She said this can sometimes result in structures being on top of riverbeds and even sometimes on the sea.

Since it is near impossible to uproot all residents in these areas, Sunga-Villegas said barangays can help mitigate disaster and take a more preemptive approach by denying anyone who wish to build in these danger zones.

“So, again, manawagan ko sa atong mga barangay officials […] na kung pwede mao pa lang pagtukod sa poste, kung kabalo na sila na dili na diha pwede tukuran and mabutang ilang kinabuhi sa danger, automatically ipa-stop na gyud na sa barangay (So, again, I am calling for our barangay officials […] that if possible, even if it’s just an attempt to put up a post, if they know that it is no longer possible to build there as it will put their lives in danger, the barangay should automatically stop it),” Sunga-Villegas said.

She also advised those who were affected by the landslides not to return to their dwellings. She said for those who live in coastal areas and around river systems to be mindful of their barangay’s early warning systems, stay informed in terms of water level monitoring, and be aware of the siren system placed to signal mandatory evacuation. CIO

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