Over 7 hectares declared danger zones in Cebu City

THE Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Mitigation and Management Council (CCDRRMMC) has declared the 2.5-hectare radius of the landslide site in Sitio Garahe in Barangay Busay and five hectares in Sitio Gilagila in Barangay Bonbon as danger zones.

This, after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Central Visayas (MGB 7) inspected the area on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022.

Fourteen families in Busay and 40 families in Bonbon have been ordered to evacuate immediately and transfer to the barangays’ public schools or sports complexes.

The Office of the Mayor has ordered barangay tanods, the police and members of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) to implement the order.

According to Gerardo Carillo, Mayor Michael Rama’s special assistant, residents will be able to return to their homes if the soil test result shows that the area is no longer in danger of another landslide.

In the meantime, the mayor has banned heavy equipment and six-wheel vehicles and higher from the affected areas.

Raquel Bohol-Arce, Cebu City Transportation Office head, said they already erected signs in both barangays and assigned traffic enforcers to direct motorists.

Landslides

Last Saturday’s landslide in Sitio Garahe was one of many landslides that occurred as a result of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng, which dumped rains in Cebu for days.

Landslides were also reported in Barangays Binaliw, Sudlon, Sinsin, Agsungot and Sirao, rendering the roads impassable by vehicles, while the road in Ayala Heights collapsed.

Agsungot Barangay Captain Peter Dumaolao has asked the City Government to send heavy equipment so they can clear the roads in the barangay.

The CCDRRMO is also monitoring Sitio Upper Mahiga in Barangay Banilad as it is also prone to landslide.

In January 2017, a downpour caused soil to loosen along the road in Sitio Garahe. Slabs of cement fell on nine parked public utility vehicles after a retaining wall along Roosevelt Drive collapsed. Back then, the MGB 7 had declared that Busay was included in its geohazard map of areas vulnerable to landslide.

Separately, Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, said Monday many mountain barangays in the city have been declared active landslide-prone areas where residents have been asked to be more vigilant for signs of possible landslides with the impending arrival of another weather disturbance, Tropical Storm Queenie, this week.

These barangays include Sirao, Malubog, Busay, Guba, Agsungot and Adlawon.

“These areas are prone to landslides every time there is a downpour. The land here really moves a lot,” Guardo told SunStar Cebu.

“We warned the residents to be mindful and watchful. Should they see manifestations of a landslide, they should report this immediately to the barangay,” said Guardo.

Guardo said the incident area in Sitio Garahe used to be a natural waterway. When the area was developed, the waterway was diverted through a drainage system.

But when they conducted an inspection with the MGB last Sunday, Guardo said they were shocked to see a spring of water where the landslide had happened. Guardo said this could be a possible reason for the landslide aside from the incessant rains in the past days.

The landslide area is no longer safe for residents to return to, and they have recommended to Mayor Michael Rama to declare it as a no-building zone, he said.

Six structures were destroyed by the landslide that affected 10 families, said Guardo.

The city government has handed out food packs and other forms of assistance to the victims through the city’s Department of Social Welfare and Services.

Guardo said the city council will now work on the financial aid that can be extended to the affected families. (PAC / PJB, IRT)