Mines and Geosciences Bureau recommends forced evacuation of residents in critical areas

DAVAO CITY, Nov. 8 (PIA) – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-XI) has strongly recommended the immediate evacuation and relocation of families from critical areas in the municipalities of Davao del Sur which were severely hit by the recent earthquakes.

In the MGB-XI’s report on rapid ocular inspection conducted from November 2-6, 2019, the recommendation was based on its findings of instability of the ground and slopes attributed to the recent earthquakes and the type of underlying geology.

Beverly Mae M. Brebante, MGB-XI Geosciences Division OIC-Chief, said the inspection confirmed occurrences of tension cracks and landslides in some barangays in Bansalan, Magsaysay and Kiblawan.

“Sa mapa namin, may low, moderate and high. Pag may mga cracks, nasa very high na sya. It is recommended wag nang patirahan sa mga tao. Kung pwede ideclare ng LGU na no build zone, mas maigi. Kasi pag may crack, it means unstable na ang area,” Brebante explained.

She added, “Pwedeng mag heal sa taas sa surface kasi natabunan na, but once may movement, lalabas at lalabas yan, mag progress yan, mas lalaki ang instability ng area.”

In the recent inspection in Bansalan, Barangays Altavista, Anonang and Managa were affected.

In Brgy. Altavista, Purok 3, Purok 5 and Sitio Sunop of Purok 7 were considered threatened by impending landslide primarily because of tension cracks.

MGB-XI’s report as of yesterday (Nov. 7) revealed that majority of the houses were built on the roadside situated along ridges which is generally susceptible to landslide.

“Meron pang mga residents in these critical areas. Definitely, we recommend for immediate evacuation,” stated Brebante.

According to the report, tension cracks in Sitio Malupo in Brgy. Anonang were observed crowning along steep slopes directly going towards Miral River. The residents observed that the openings started gradually from Oct. 16 to Oct. 31 earthquakes.

At least two to three households have evacuated from below the said slope. But the barangay captain reported that several residents are still on the ground refusing to be evacuated.

In Brgy. Managa, reported tension cracks and landslides in four puroks have also been confirmed.

The report disclosed that series of tension cracks were observed in the view deck in Purok Pananag B, reaching to the households threatening at least nine. But, the cracks were relatively related to the disruption of natural slopes due to the development of road network.

MGB-XI recommended to cordon the view deck of Purok Pananag B to prevent civilians from entering the affected area.

Purok Pluto is also highly susceptible to landslide, and most of the residents evacuated to the Brgy. Proper and while others chose to stay in safer grounds closer to their farms.

Landslide and tension crack in Purok Venus were found out along the highway going to Brgy. Kapatagan, while tension crack induced by typical earthquake and minor ground effects were observed in Purok Neptune.

Jesil Jaum, Bansalan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) officer, said they still have to plan the forced evacuation of the remaining affected families in these areas upon receipt of MGB-XI’s report and recommendations.

MGB-XI also recommended for the immediate removal of landslide debris along the creek to prevent damming which may cause more damages if not addressed.

Further, the agency advised the barangay LGUs and MDRRMO to constantly monitor the existing slope instability (tension cracks/ruptures/slumping) which may be aggravated during heavy rainfall and possible aftershocks.

Brebante also confirmed the reported tension cracks and landslide occurrences in Barangays Upper Bala, New Opon, Kanapolo and Tagaytay in Magsaysay which first reported the incidents.

She said that some tension cracks happened prior to the landslides, but were activated during the earthquake.

Areas affected by landslide is presently inaccessible due to impending slope instability, and retrieval operations of the two missing persons in Brgy. Upper Bala and Brgy. Tagaytay was discontinued due to current unstable condition of the area.

In Brgy. Tagaytay, all 395 families of the B’Laan tribe evacuated from their village due to landslides which destroyed not only their homes but also their farms.

Cracks were noted along the highway in Purok 2 in Brgy. Opon where residents are situated nearby.

In Brgy. Kanapulo, MGB-XI assessed the evacuation site and was found to be situated in a flood-prone area.

In Kiblawan, the affected barangays were Kimlawis and San Jose.

Brebante said that prior to the earthquake, the entire Brgy. Kimlawis was assessed and identified as critical and was recommended for relocation in 2011.

“But they (residents) are still there. Ang dating mga cracks lumala na. So we reiterated recommendation for immediate evacuation and relocation of people living there,” she bared.

In Brgy. San Jose, there was landslide along Bugac creek, and the materials that fell dammed the creek, so the water level in the upstream of the creek has reached to eight feet already.

“What we worry is flashflood kung sakali bumigay ang materials,” Brebante lamented.

She said that the MGB immediately called for a meeting with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-XI), Office of Civil Defense (OCD-XI) and the LGU, and made a plan to remove the water.

“Yesterday we have mobilized heavy equipment. Today (Nov. 7) is the start of the excavation. A new channel was created to avoid flashfloods. Although there are no residents in the area,” she added.

Brebante also mentioned that the MGB-XI has found cracks in the coastal areas of Hagonoy town due to liquefaction.

She explained that liquefaction is also an earthquake impact where sands crack, and that portion of the sand boils which eject mixture of sand, adding, “These are normal results of an earthquake.”

The MGB-XI report revealed that dozens of houses were affected and a school was shut down due to the presence of cracks underneath.

The recommendation was to relocate the whole Sitio Bucana of Brgy Gihing, and other affected areas within the perimeter into much safer location. (PIA-XI/Carina L. Cayon)