Davao City

Thousands flee homes as heavy rains cause Davao’s rivers to swell

Grace Cantal-Albasin
Thousands flee homes as heavy rains cause Davao’s rivers to swell

HOT MEALS. Social workers serve hot meals to villagers in an evacuation center in Davao City on Monday night, March 7.

City Social Welfare and Development Office FB page

Rising floodwaters prompt the local government to order preemptive evacuations, and later forced evacuations when the water levels of rivers further rose

BUKIDNON, Philippines – Thousands fled their homes as a low pressure area (LPA) spawned heavy rain and floods in nearly a dozen villages in Davao City on Monday, March 7.

Officials registered at least 793 families that evacuated to safer grounds from at least 11 villages as of Monday night, March 7.

Alfredo Baloran, chief of Davao City’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), said the rising floodwaters prompted the local government to order preemptive evacuations. Reluctant evacuees eventually fled when the water levels of rivers further rose.

The Davao River, Mindanao’s third-largest river by drainage basin, continued to swell close to midnight, Baloran told the Davao City Disaster Radio.

He said the water in the river’s tributaries upstream subsided but not downstream as of late Monday night, causing street flooding and threatening villages in low-lying areas in Davao City.

Baloran said flood-prone areas near the Bunawan River were also in danger.

It continued to rain in many parts of Davao and neighboring regions on Tuesday morning, March 8.

The water levels of the Bunawan, Talomo, and Davao rivers have reached critical levels as the rain continued to pour in the region. The sky remained gloomy even at midday on Tuesday.

The city government has placed areas near the Bankerohan Bridge under Code Red because floodwaters continued to rise. 

Rising water levels also threatened the villages of Tamugan, Tugbok, Pañalum, and the Bunawan proper. 

Social workers were sent to serve hot meals and set up modular tents for displaced families in more than 10 evacuation centers in the city.  

Bad weather also resulted in power outages and landslides in several areas.

Except for a rescue operation in Toril to help a trapped person, there was no casualty report in Davao City as of Monday night, Baloran said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a heavy rainfall warning in many parts of Mindanao on Tuesday morning. – Rappler.com

Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship