BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Three local government units in northern Negros have placed their areas under a state of calamity, with Silay City joining the list.
Mayor Mark Golez said yesterday that they placed Silay under a state of calamity Friday, days after the cities of Victorias and Talisay, that were badly hit by two incidents of flashfloods, did the same.
The cities of Victorias, Silay, and Talisay have one fatality each during the flashfloods that also hit EB Magalona, Manapla, Cadiz, Sagay, and Escalante.
Records from the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division showed that 17,399 families, composed of 69,281 individuals, were affected by the Jan. 9 flashfloods, on top of several bridges either destroyed or damaged.
PDMPD head Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian said 9,020 families in 16 barangays of Silay were affected by the Jan. 9 flooding while crop damage was placed at P1.6 million, and P442,000 damage to fisheries. Damage to livestock is still being computed.
The Jan. 1 flashfloods in Talisay, Silay, Victorias, and EB Magalona affected about 15,000 families and damaged P20 million in crops and fisheries, including those in Cadiz and Sagay.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Caelian yesterday reiterated their appeals for residents affected by the flooding to heed the call to evacuate, and not to wait for the water to rise first before they call for a rescue.
“They should be pro-active,” Caelian said.
He admitted that one of their biggest problems during the rescue operations is the noncooperation of some residents.
Despite rising floodwater, “some were hesitant to evacuate until it reaches their house and they ask for help,” he said.
Caelian admitted that rescue operations for residents trapped in the two flashfloods were hampered by lack of equipment.
The Philippine Army and Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and police personnel extended manpower and vehicles to the disaster units of various LGUs in the transport of affected residents to safer grounds.
Caelian said the PDMPD will request additional rescue equipment from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“One of our recommendations is to strengthen the capabilities of our local rescue units, especially those at the LGU level,” he said, noting also that the province’s solar-powered rain gauge that was given to them by the Department of Science and Technology did not work due to lack of sunlight.
Caelian said they have also requested for additional early warning systems from the DOST and is requesting for a backup system for their existing solar-powered monitoring equipment in order for them to operate even with no sunlight. He added that the PDMPD will also widen its network of responders across the province.*