Matanao quake victims in need of potable water

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By Carina Cayon

MATANAO, Davao del Sur, Nov. 6 (PIA) – The 210 families in the hilly barangay of Kibao in Matanao, Davao del Sur are needing potable water after an orange colored water came out from the households’ hosepipes following the recent earthquakes that destroyed the village’s water source.

Bernadette Baldevia, Matanao Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management officer, said that the series of quakes severely damaged the source of water, leaving the residents with no clean water to use and drink.

Baldevia revealed that the 750 residents were forced to use the water for their laundry and bathing, and some boiled the water just to have something to drink.

But she said that the water is no longer safe to use, especially for drinking after the Municipal Health Office has tested the water positive of e-coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria.

Other barangays, such as Asinan, Tibongbong, Kauswagan, Tamlangon, Lower Marber, Buas and Sinawilan, also have problems on their water supply because of some damages in the water systems like columns, braces and pump machine.

The water system in a sitio in Brgy. Asinan needed to be demolished due to severe cracks in its walls. But, said barangay has other source of water in other sitios.

Matanao Mayor Vincent Fernandez said that the local government unit immediately responded to the water needs of the affected barangays, especially water supply for drinking.

“We have delivered bottles and containers of drinking water. We have sent ration of water through the water truck,” Fernandez said, but added that the supply as of this time will not be enough in the long run.

The municipality of Matanao is one of the hardest hit by quake in the entire province of Davao del Sur. Several infrastructures including the municipal hall, schools, business establishments and houses incurred damages.

The mayor admitted that there was slight delay in responding to the impact of the disaster and asking for assistance because almost all employees in the municipal hall were also affected.

But he said there were 518 initially reported families whose houses were either partially or totally damaged, were given immediate assistance after the first tremor happened on October 16.

As of Tuesday (Nov. 5), out of the 2,290 reported damaged houses, 1,612 have been validated, Baldevia said. She added that the rest of the houses are still under validation by the municipal engineering team, MDRRMO and the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

The Office of Civil Defense and Department of Social Welfare and Development are also helping the LGU in assessing six barangays out of the 33.

She said that the displaced families are seeking temporary shelters in makeshift tents either in evacuation centers established by the LGU or in camp sites in their respective sitios.

Baldevia, however, lamented that almost all population in the municipality are considered displaced because even those whose houses have no damage, are sleeping in tents near their homes due to the occurrence of aftershocks and fear of another earthquake.

Fernandez was thankful for the assistance that came from the national government agencies, non-government organizations, private sector and other LGUs like Davao City which provided P300,000 cash assistance.

He said the LGU has already delivered food packs, tents and water to 1,036 families. Although he still appealed for more assistance to address the immediate needs of the many affected families like water, tents, food packs and sleeping kits.

“Our calamity fund has been exhausted since we have also been hit by drought early this year,” he added.

Within the week, the LGU will focus in barangays with established evacuation centers, like Asinan, Subway and Kibao.

The mayor said he has ordered his barangay captains to convince their constituents to be in one evacuation center for easy documentation, validation and distribution of relief goods. (PIA-XI/Carina L. Cayon)