Wednesday, January 05, 2011

S. Leyte gov: Evacuate disaster-prone areas

S. Leyte gov: Evacuate disaster-prone areas
Cebu Daily News
January 05, 2010

St. Bernard, Southern Leyte — Dismayed over the loss of lives due to flash floods and landslides, Southern Leyte Gov. Damian Mercado has ordered the provincial disaster management office to evacuate or make forced evacuation of residents in disaster-prone areas if needed.

Five children—three from St. Bernard town, one from Tomas Oppus town and another from Sogod town—were killed Sunday at the height of incessant rains in Southern Leyte.

The fatalities were Maria Fatima Discaryal, 5, and her brother Rodel, 1; Jordan Lakipon, 3; Ricabelle Montederamos, 10; and Patrick Pelaez, 11.

The bodies of the Discaryal siblings were found Sunday while that of Lakipon was found 9 a.m. Monday buried in mud just near their house in Barangay Bolod-Bolod, St. Bernard. The three were killed Sunday when a portion of the nearby mountain crashed into the houses of the Discaryal and Lakipon families who were neighbors.

Two others were reported to have drowned in Southern Leyte on Sunday—Montederamos, who was crossing a flooded rice field in Maanyag village, Tomas Oppus town, and Pelaez of Pancho Villa village in Sogod town who was crossing a river.

"This was the result of the people's hardheadedness," Mercado told the Inquirer on Monday when asked why there were casualties although several early warning systems have been installed in various areas and the experience of the Guinsaugon tragedy.

The governor said he has instructed all mayors and the PDMO to make the necessary evacuation and to use the police to force those who insist staying in their homes to leave.

In a separate interview Monday, PDMO chief Efledo Hernandez said early warning devices have been installed in all disaster-prone areas, including the village where the children were killed.

“In fact they were already told to evacuate a day earlier before the disaster,” said Hernandez, adding that they have implemented forced evacuations in some disaster prone-areas.

After the Guinsaugon tragedy, the province have been cited for its risk mitigation programs particularly St. Bernard whose Mayor Rico Rentusa have been invited for several speaking engagement on disaster in other countries.

Last year, the province's 11 municipalities were beneficiaries of risk reduction projects using SMS by Philippine Business for Social Progress.