Cebu City Hall to begin 'massive' clearing operations on Aug. 10

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THE Cebu City Government will begin its massive clearing operations on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in a bid to recover the three-meter easement of rivers and waterways.

Mayor Michael Rama ordered the destruction of at least 2,000 structures along rivers in the city as he wanted to prevent casualties during heavy rains, following the Thursday night, Aug. 4 downpour that caused flooding and the overflowing of several rivers in the city, including Kinalumsan River in Barangay Mambaling, whose raging waters swept two persons who were later rescued.

Rama said at least 14,000 individuals will be displaced when the waterways are cleared of illegal structures.

However, on Sunday, Aug. 7, Gerardo Carillo, chairman of the Cebu City Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC), said around 14,000 households will be affected by the clearing operations.

The other purpose of the clearing operations is to establish esplanades to beautify the different waterways and mitigate the risk of flooding in the city, Carillo said.

Carillo told SunStar Cebu Sunday, Aug. 7 that a coordination meeting has already been conducted by the CCDRRMC, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor and the Cebu City Environmental and Natural Resources for the implementation of the program.

The City and the DPWH conducted clearing operations on illegal structures along the waterways for flood-control projects in the past years. However, these were not enough.

The demolition of illegal structures encroaching within the three-meter easement in Kinalumsan River is the first on the list of the team, said Carillo.

According to Carillo, there are around 200 households that need to be cleared in the Kinalumsan River but most of them have already received financial assistance from the DPWH.

The families that will be displaced will be temporarily sheltered at the San Nicolas Elementary School, he added.

A medium-rise building (MRB) will be constructed by the City Government in Barangay Duljo-Fatima to accommodate the affected families living along the banks of the Kinalumsan River.

The MRB will be funded by the National Government through the DPWH and will have a budget of up to P160 million, said Carillo.

In the meantime, the City Government will also purchase container vans that can be set up as a temporary shelters for those who will be affected by future clearing operations.

Carillo said the City had already identified a five-hectare land at the South Road Properties where the container vans can be placed.

Esplanades

After all illegal structures will be removed, Carillo said the City Government will aim to beautify the riverbanks by developing them into an esplanade or promenade.

Bike lanes will also be integrated into the structures so people can use these as shortcuts in reaching their destination and to reduce traffic on major roads, said Carillo.

“It will become a bike lane and an area where people can actually go,” said Carillo.

Once the Kinalumsan River will be cleared, the City Government will then proceed to Lahug River, Guadalupe River and Bulacao River, he added.

Blue alert status

Carillo said that the CCDRRMC is currently in blue alert status as they expect heavy downpours will keep recurring for the entire week. This means that all of the personnel are on standby and will continuously monitor any possible disaster.

On Thursday, the disaster team responded to multiple emergencies after the heavy rain resulted in flash floods that swept away houses and people.

Carillo reminded the public to be always on alert, especially those who are living in disaster-prone areas.