Same old problem

By: Editorial April 17,2017 - 09:22 PM

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The downpour that occurred late last Saturday evening and the resulting fatalities came about mostly out of the public’s presumption that the rains won’t be as heavy as the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) projected it would be.

As per its announcement last Thursday, Pagasa spotted a low pressure area coming into the country with the chance that it would develop into a tropical cyclone that they would dub Crising.

Who could have predicted that Crising would make landfall in northern Cebu and flood its towns and cities resulting in nine deaths and the displacement of 60 families in Cebu City and 300 families in Carmen town?

Most of the victims, as expected, were those living near the rivers and the mountain barangays. It is presumed that they were reminded by local disaster management officials to evacuate and they disregarded it, confident that they would survive the downpour.

Mostly it’s because they have nowhere else to go other than the homes of relatives whose houses are already filled to capacity as it is or to their towns where there is little to no employment or no schools that they deem fit for their children.

It’s hard to convince these settlers to move out until they are given a suitable relocation site paid for by taxpayers’ money, and if given one, they would rather pick an area near their schools or workplace with adequate water and power supply.

Who can blame them indeed when the local governments and the provincial government were unable to get their acts together and expedite the processing and development of relocation sites?

Cebu City is seriously lacking in this department, and while the previous administration failed to address the problem, the incumbents aren’t as likely to convince the settlers to move out of the city’s side of Mahiga Creek or anywhere but the mountain barangays where landslides are a common and ever-present danger.

For it is the continued occupation of waterways and riverbanks which have been set aside as being “beyond the commerce of man” by the law that is largely to blame not only for the floods for constricting the flow of floodwaters but for the deaths of the settlers who shouldn’t be in the area in the first place.

While we do need a fully developed and functional master drainage system, all that work and money spent will be for nothing if the province’s riverbanks and waterways continue to be occupied by settlers and establishments whose presence and wanton dumping of their garbage will continue to force floodwaters to seek their own destructive path.

Mandaue City has shown commitment to relocating the settlers while requiring them to do their part in paying for their homes, and we hope Cebu City Hall and the Carmen municipal government would do their share in helping their settlers.

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TAGS: Astronomical, Carmen, Cebu, Confident, disregarded, Geophysical, problem, Same

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