Mandaue under state of calamity after worst flood in 30 years

·3 min read

MANDAUE City has now been placed under a state of calamity after the City Council approved the recommendation of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on the declaration, following the overflowing of the Butuanon River last Friday that resulted in massive floods in several areas.

The approval was granted during the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s (SP) regular session at the Session Hall on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Jonas Cortes said the declaration would allow the City to tap the calamity funds so it could immediately provide aid to affected families and help them rebuild their homes in safer places.

Ernie Manatad, chairman of the committee on disaster risk reduction and management, described Friday’s flooding in the city as the worst flood in 30 years, stressing that there were some portions of the river that had overflowed for the first time.

In an interview on Monday, Buddy Alain Ybañez, head of the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MCDRRMO), said at least 11 barangays, particularly those situated near the Butuanon River, were affected by Friday’s floods.

Ybañez said some of the most affected barangays were Casuntingan, Tingub, Maguikay, Umapad and Paknaan.

Ybañez said they could not yet give an estimate on the cost of damage the flood had brought, as they were still gathering data, especially from those individuals who chose not to evacuate when the incident happened.

Ybañez reiterated that the city government would strictly impose the clearing of the Butuanon River’s three-meter easement and relocate those individuals living within the area.

“If we do not relocate them (residents near the three-meter easement of the Butuanon River), the problem will keep recurring,” Ybañez said in Cebuano.

“We are putting their lives in danger. Maybe they don’t know it, but they are also putting their own lives in danger,” Ybañez added.

Data submitted by the MCDRRMO to the city council showed that about 675 houses in Barangays Casuntingan, Tabok, Tingub and Umapad were damaged, while about 16 houses were wiped out.

Friday’s flood displaced about 500 families and 1,837 individuals.

While no one was reported injured, Ybañez said Cortes had requested the Mandaue City Health Office to inject anti-tetanus vaccines to the affected individuals for added healthcare measures.

Camelo Basaca Jr., head of the City of Mandaue City Social Services, said some evacuees had already returned to their houses.

Others remained in evacuation centers because some of their family members were still cleaning their homes in the aftermath of the flood, said Basaca.

Basaca also said about 23 families from Barangays Casuntingan and Tingub whose homes were wiped out by the flood would be relocated temporarily to the Old North Bus Terminal in Barangay Subangdaku while the city government looks for a permanent relocation site.

Simulating evacuation

Ybañez also told reporters Monday that the MCDRRMO would bring back disaster information and education campaigns (IEC), as well as simulation evacuation exercises in the barangays to better prepare the residents for future calamities.

Ybañez said the challenge they had Friday was that some individuals waited for the MCDRRMO to rescue them and did not proactively evacuate.

“Some of them already saw the water rising, but still they chose to evacuate at the last minute and wait for us (MCDRRMO) and their BDRRMO (Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office) to rescue them,” said Ybañez in Cebuano.

Ybañez said people could have been complacent, considering flooding has always been normal in Mandaue but stressed that it is dangerous.

Ybañez said they will resume their disaster IEC simulation exercises for proper evacuation within barangays, especially in the city’s flood-prone areas, which are Barangays Centro, Looc, Opao, Umapad, Cambaro, Subangdaku and Paknaan so that in future disasters, residents would no longer need to wait for the MCDRRMO and could directly go to their designated evacuation centers safely.