MGB 7: Relocate Naga sitio residents living near cracks

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THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 has recommended the evacuation of residents living near the cracks in Sitio Sandayong, Barangay Balirong in Naga City, Cebu after its experts found that the area is highly susceptible to landslides.

This decision was reached after the MGB 7 inspectors’ investigation on the cracks found in Sandayong in October 2020.

The inspectors found that the cracks were segmented and exhibited an “arcuate shape with an aggregate length of around 200 meters,” according to a portion of the MGB 7’s final analysis shared by the agency’s information officer Heart Rizarri to SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

The cracks follow a general east-southeast direction with a maximum vertical displacement of 30 centimeters, according to the analysis. In tectonics, a vertical displacement is caused by a shifting movement of land in vertical direction.

The deepest depth of the cracks was recorded to reach about 60 inches. As of Nov. 4, Rizarri said the cracks had not progressed further.

Crack sightings

Last Oct. 23, some Balirong residents reported to their local officials the cracks they had found on the slopes of a ridge in Sandayong.

This prompted the personnel of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to conduct an initial assessment in the area last Oct. 24.

After seeing the cracks, they advised Balirong’s barangay officials to initiate a preemptive evacuation of at least 25 households in Sandayong situated below the slope of a steep ridge where the cracks have manifested.

In an interview last Oct. 28, City Administrator Arthur Villamor, who also acts as Cenro’s officer-in-charge, said 10 of the 25 households in Sandayong have signified interest to transfer residence. At the time, at least three households had already relocated.

Assistance

Villamor said the City Government will provide the Sandayong families with financial assistance.

The City has offered to demolish the houses so they can still use whatever materials they can to rebuild their houses in a safer area and to provide them with transportation in the transfer of their belongings.

Meanwhile, the MGB 7 also said landslides could have occurred in Sandayong in the past, as the cracks revealed that the site is partly covered with talus deposit—a chaotic mixture of mud, silt, sand and boulder created by a past soil movement or landslide.

Monitoring

The MGB 7 also recommended to local officials to closely monitor the progression of cracks in Balirong after a downpour. It said La Niña, the weather phenomenon that brings more rain than usual, could accelerate soil erosion in the area.

In 2018, a landslide occurred in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan in Naga City. It killed 78 persons and left 6,486 individuals injured or homeless. (WBS)