[NEWS] Disaster preparedness: Kibawe residents asked to vacate landslide-prone areas
(DAVAO CITY) – Residents in four villages in Kibawe, Bukidnon have been asked to vacate their houses after environment officials declared their area across the Pulangi River risky and prone to landslide, the municipal public information officer said.
A total of 74 families or 346 persons from Puroks 1, 2, 3 and Sitio Lumbayan in Brgy. Magsaysay were advised to vacate the area by the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Northern Mindanao, Baldomero E. Baldomero, municipal PIO told MindaNews in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Apparently because there is no relocation area as yet, the residents in the danger zone have not moved out.
Baldomero said the local government of Kibawe and the province of Bukidnon have already prepared a contingency plan. “We are finalizing a relocation area and we plan to move people soon,” he said.
Since June 18, Baldomero said, residents and school personnel from the barangay reported cracks on the ground. Baldomero said government geologists also noted that in some areas, the ground collapsed to as deep as 300 centimeters to a meter.
Already, seven houses made of light materials had been destroyed in the danger zone due to these cracks.
Baldomero said geologists cited as a factor the area’s soil type – sandy loam – which dried up in summer, causing cracks. With the onset of the rainy season, rainwater seeped into the cracks and softened the base. An earthquake, Baldomero said, was counted out as a cause.
The cracks have damaged houses, barangay buildings, basketball court and classrooms.
Baldomero said classes were suspended in Magsaysay Elementary School on June 18, when teachers decided that the cracks on the walls of the classroom and deformities in door frames posed danger to the students. Classes were resumed in a makeshift classroom in another village a few days later.
“If rains will continue, we are afraid that this might have tragic results just like that in Leyte,” Baldomero said.
He said the ground cracks were observed in a six hectare-area in Kibawe and that cracks as long as a kilometer extending up to Kitaotao, an adjacent town, have been found.
Baldomero said the local government has been trained to respond and prepare for disasters. But he stressed the need to have more trainings and preparations. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)
Photo by Skippy Lumawag: Rural scene in a rainy day.