Davao Oriental to be put under state of calamity

Executive Committee Meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) held at the Provincial Capitol on January 23, 2017.

Executive Committee Meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) held at the Provincial Capitol on January 23, 2017.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Committee has recommended to put the whole province under a state of calamity following the continuous heavy rains, causing floods and landslides.  

The said recommendation has been forwarded to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for adoption, thus, would allow local government units to make quick interventions for relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of affected areas that have suffered from severe damages, particularly in terms of infrastructures and livelihoods here.

The two municipalities of Boston and Cateel have earlier declared their towns under a state of calamity while the towns of Baganga and Caraga are also expected to declare a state of calamity soon after local leaders have convened for their respective damage assessment meeting.

This morning, January 23, 2017, at the Provincial Capitol, Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang presided over an executive committee to discuss the initial assessment of the damages caused by the calamity as well as interventions to the disaster-stricken areas.

The said committee is composed of offices from the provincial government to include the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Provincial Agriculture Office, Provincial Health Office, and Environment and Natural Resources, among others. The committee also consists of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police.

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DAMAGE REPORT

Provincial Disaster Action Officer Engr. Jesusa Timbang reported the extent of damage in the affected towns. She said that aside from the swelling of rivers, flashfloods and landslides, the calamity also severely affected farmers and fisherfolks, mostly in the province’s east coast towns.

In Boston town, according to a PDRRMC report, four barangays have already declared a state of calamity and around 80 percent of the families there have been affected. Scouring of the river near Cabasagan Elementary School was also reported.

In Baganga town, eight barangays with a total of 283 households were reported to have been affected. Reports also revealed scouring of rivers, damaged culverts, and landslides. Cateel town reported some 4,327 affected families in 6 barangays as well as damaged bridges, culvert boxes, and water systems. Incidents of landslides have been reported in the town of Caraga.

Three deaths were also reported in Caraga and Cateel towns. The Provincial Government has committed to extend assistance to the families of the victims.

Meanwhile, Provincial Agriculture Office Head Rotchie Ravelo said that the heavy rains have destroyed crops, causing damages worth P1.7 million. The extent of the damage has affected at least 423 hectares and 1,864 farmers in 27 barangays in Tarragona, Cateel, and Boston. The damage cost is expected to rise amidst the incoming reports from the different towns.

INTERVENTIONS

While all disaster risk reduction and management offices in the municipalizes have already been activated, the Provincial Government is also making efforts to assist local leaders respond to the devastation.  

The disaster also prompted the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police to mobilize troops to readily assist rescue and aid teams.

As to relief aid, the provincial government committed to augment the already dwindling supply of food packs of the municipalities which they already started to distribute since last week. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is also set to provide food packs to the residents through the municipal government. The Department of Health has provided medicines for common diseases ready for distribution in the areas.

During the meeting, Governor Dayanghirang ordered the immediate deployment of heavy equipment to help the clearing operation on areas affected by landslides.

Long-term interventions were also discussed such as relocation of residents in areas identified as danger zones. The Governor said that there will be strict implementation of the no-build zone. Talks about watershed management and massive planting of trees were also discussed. By Karen Lou Deloso/ Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan.

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