Alarm raised on flood, erosion in Davao areas

May. 26, 2008

The coming wet season has an environmental group expressing concern for the fate of residents of Davao City’s hinterlands that are prone to landslide and flood.

Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Idis) executive director Lia Jasmin Esquillo says they are particularly worried for the residents of Barangay Carmen in Baguio District who have suffered from displacement and loss of property in the past after an onslaught of torrential rains that triggered flashfloods and landslides.

She recounted that, in 2006, residents from the the mountain slopes of Carmen had to abandon their houses and farms for weeks after certain parts of the area collapsed. This was followed by intense floods that destroyed the water pipelines that also supply water to the villages of Tawan-Tawan, Baguio, Cadalian and parts of Wines.

Esquillo pointed out that these incidents could even cost peoples’ lives. We are calling on the authorities to look into this and act appropriately before it is too late, she said.

The terrain analysis of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources marked Carmen as moderately to highly susceptible to both landslide and soil erosion.

Since the 2006 incident, Carmen residents have been asking the city government provide them with a safer relocation area. However, they requested that it not be far from Carmen, where their farmlots can be found.

Esquillo said erosion and flood areas — slopes and by the rivers, particularly — must not be turned into residential areas to avoid disasters. Esquillo also said that areas identified as critical must be off-limits for any major development that would trigger life-threatening incidents.

Esquillo also expressed concern over plans to develop Shrine Hills in Matina into high-end subdivisions. She said the government must strongly stand against such plans because they threaten the safety of the people living down that hill. (PIA)

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