WASHED OUT. The aftermath of the houses in coastal Sitio Becor, Barangay Tabo-o, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, that were damaged by a flash flood on Dec. 24. On Wednesday (Dec. 28, 2002), the local government said it plans to relocate the affected residents to safe zones as it plans to implement a no-build zone near its shorelines. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

JIMENEZ, Misamis Occidental – The local government here is considering the relocation of families residing in coastal areas to safer zones to avoid getting ravaged by flash floods again.

In an interview Wednesday, Mayor Joselito Chiong said some 88 families are likely to be affected by the planned relocation since they reside near the shorelines that are considered "no-build zone.”

Chiong said coastal communities were affected by flooding on Dec. 24 when a shear line affecting Northern Mindanao brought heavy rains into the area.

"These families were given alternative livelihood before the flooding incident, but others returned to fishing since that is their main source of income," he said.

Chiong said the local government has continued with its disaster response after 14 out of the town's 24 barangays were flooded due to shear line rains.

Even the mayor’s house in Barangay Rizal was also flooded.

Merlita Moreno, 38, a solo parent with three kids, was one of the residents in Barangay Tabo-o whose house was destroyed.

"That night (Dec. 24), we were awoken by my elder sister, and when I looked at the place we were already partly submerged in the floodwater. I could no longer salvage our things as we left for safety," she said.

Moreno and 38 other families, or 150 individuals are sheltered at the local gymnasium.

The local disaster risk reduction management unit recorded 6,695 affected individuals or 1,590 families as of Wednesday.

Of the number, 1,126 families or 5,021 individuals were placed in six evacuation centers.

The municipality recorded three casualties - two died of drowning, while one died of cardiac arrest after being rescued from his flooded residence.

Meanwhile, the municipality has yet to repair its water system as the main pipelines from its seven sectors were damaged in the recent flood.

"We have ordered the materials needed, but we have standby pipes so that our workers will initially do the repairs. Hopefully by Friday, one of the sectors will be operational," Chiong said.

To date, the town of 30,000 is relying on alternative sources of water from free-flowing springs in the area. (PNA)