ITCZ brings flood to parts of Dav Occidental, Davao del Sur
On November 17, 2022, rains brought by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) caused severe flooding and landslides in some areas of Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur.
ITCZ brings flood to parts of Dav Occidental, Davao del Sur

The ITCZ may persist until November 18, 2022, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Sta. is one of the municipalities that is severely impacted. Maria, Western Davao.

Sta. Vice Mayor Josephine "Joyce" Mariscal of Maria stated that this is the "first time" that flooding has affected the entire municipality as a result of heavy rains. Sta is the outcome of this. All levels of school will be suspended, and the mayor of Maria, Claude Benjamin D. Bautista II, will work in the government. Additionally, a state of emergency was declared, and all residents were required to leave.

“Naay previous na flooding around 80’s to 90’s pero dili municipal-wide ang affected (There was flooding in 80’s to 90’s but it was not municipal-wide),” Vice Mayor of Sta. Maria Davao Occidental said in a message sent to SunStar Davao on November 17, 2022.

According to Mariscal, as of 3:00 pm, there were about 80 partially damaged homes and 35 fully damaged homes as a result of flooding. Infrastructures such as barangay bridges, flood control dikes, agriculture, and livelihood are also damaged.

Additionally, search and rescue efforts were made in Sitio Sicba, Sitio Batiol, and Sitio Unicarbia, Brgy. Sta. Basiawan Davao Occidental by the Sta. Maria Other organizations and the Maria Municipal Police Station (MPS).

According to Harry Chester Camoro, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office-Davao Occidental (PDRRMO), a portion of the Buhangin, Malita SM-Malita Highway is impassable due to a landslide. The first Davao Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company, though, had already started clearing roads in Sta. Davao del Sur's Maria and Malita.

The Philippine Information Agency Davao Region (PIA-Davao) also reported that the residents in Tubalan and Buhangin of Malita and San Agustin in Sta. Maria have already received food packs from the police.

Meanwhile, in an interview with SunStar Davao on November 17, 2022, to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) of the Municipal of Jose Abad Santos (JAS), Davao Occidental, did not expect the ITCZ will lead to the suspension of classes in their province.

“Lahi na gyud ang panahon karun, kay sauna napansin nato nga ang suspension sa work and klase is related sa bagyo and LPA (low pressure area) and then karun thunderstorm palang, nag-suspend na ta (Times are different now. Before, we would suspend classes if there is an LPA or storm. But recently, a thunderstorm can be strong enough to suspend classes),” Ariel Acosta, MDRRMO Davao Occidental officer, said.

He added no residents have been reportedly evacuated from their houses despite the landslide incidents in JAS and admitted that the topographical area of JAS is landslide-prone, especially along the national highway.

Despite living in some landslide-prone areas in JAS, Acosta said it's hard for them to find a place for relocation for the residents who have opted to build houses in the identified areas.

“Medyo mahirap maghanap ng relocation area site here because ang amoang topography dire from dagat diretso dayon sa bukid so medyo in terms of looking for a flat arena, nahirapan kami (It's hard to find a relocation site for these houses built in the landslide prone areas due to our topography, from the shoreline going to the mountain areas),” Acosta said.

However, he said they don’t have problems with the evacuation centers. Acosta reminded their residents to always prepare a “go bag” which includes the necessary things they need when they evacuate their homes.

In Davao del Sur, landslide and flooding were reported in Baluyan, Malalag, Davao del Sur.

Davao del Sur Provincial Information Officer Sherwin Cesar said in his Facebook live on November 17, that in Sitio Tawan-Tawan, vehicles were having a hard time to pass because of the debris from the landslide. However, he said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DCPWH) immediately conducted a road-clearing.

Cesar said the river in Malalag, Davao del Sur has overflowed resulting in knee-level flood.

He added that a bridge going to the church in Sta. Teresa de Avila collapsed and other portions of dikes eroded.

As of writing, Thursday evening, PIA reported two casualties from Barangay Ibu and Barangay Pitu, in Malalag, Davao del Sur.

With the current situation of the municipality and other neighboring municipalities, classes in all levels of public and private schools and work in government offices were suspended in seven municipalities — Magsaysay, Malalag, Sulop, and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur while Sta. Maria and Jose Abad Santos, and Sarangani in Davao Occidental – based on the report of the Office of Civil Defense Davao Region (OCD-Davao) and declaration of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Davao Occidental

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