57 families in Sarangani village flee due to tension cracks

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — At least 57 families from an upland village in Alabel town, Sarangani province, have evacuated due to huge ground cracks that were believed to have triggered a landslide.

Alabel Mayor Vic Paul Salarda said Thursday that they implemented the forced evacuation of residents from Sitio Lilab in Barangay Pag-asa as the area is no longer safe due to the ground cracks.

Salarda said a landslide occurred in the area at about 6 a.m. on Monday but no casualty was reported.

Citing records from the municipal disaster risk reduction and management office (MDRRMO), he said a total of 57 families or 239 individuals, all indigenous peoples, were affected by the incident.

The evacuees have taken temporary shelter, mostly with relatives, in Sitio Canaan in the same village.

On Wednesday, a team from the provincial and municipal DRRMOs, with technical assistance from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 12 (Soccsksargen), assessed the area.  

Based on the accounts of residents, Salarda said they reportedly heard rumbling sounds underneath the ground before the emergence of the tension cracks.

“After a few minutes, they saw the ground move and the huge tension cracks emerged,” he said in an interview.

Salarda said they advised all residents in the community to immediately evacuate to ensure their safety as the tension cracks could trigger major landslides.

He said the local government is assisting the affected residents and evaluating possible relocation sites in the area.

Rene Punzalan, head of PDRRMO-Sarangani, said MGB-12 has declared the village as a “no build and settlement zone.”

He said they considered the ground rupture as a result of the recent earthquakes “but we’re still waiting for the technical findings of MGB-12.”  Richelyn Gubalani / PNA – northboundasia.com