July 27, 2018, 8:08 pm
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT— With a small army of workers and volunteers, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expects the massive landside that killed one person at the Aparri Road here to be finally cleared by next week.
SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency’s technical group estimated that it would take about 400 dump-truck loads to finally clear about 4,000 cubic meters of muddy soil that collapsed from a hill here early Monday.
“We are already working from both ends of the landslide to clear it faster, but at the rate the crew can go with the continuous rain, clearing operations that started last Monday may be completed only by Friday next week,” Eisma said.
“It’s good that we have enough pay-loaders, dump trucks and backhoes because a lot of locator-companies volunteered their heavy equipment, but what we lack is manpower. We need alternate operators because work continues until night time,” she explained.
She said volunteers from the SBMA, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary and some business locators in Subic are working overtime and have produced close to 14,000 sandbags since Tuesday.
Eisma also pointed out that continuous rains have resulted in other minor landslides in other areas in the Freeport.
The multiple landslides started Sunday as heavy rains from tropical depression Josie and the southwest monsoon soaked the Subic Freeport and surrounding areas.
At least three companies in the Freeport were affected by landslides, while three others reported flooding that damaged some facilities, the SBMA Business and Investment Department said.
Meanwhile, a report from the SBMA Ecology Center indicated that the heaviest rain in Subic since January 2013 fell last Sunday, July 22.
The most amount of average precipitation, or rainfall, was also recorded this year at approximately 400.21 millimeters (mm).
One millimeter of rainfall means that one square meter of space has one liter of water in it.
Before this, the heaviest average rainfall in the Subic Freeport since 2013 was posted in 2016 at 339.48 mm, while the least amount was in 2015 at 180.17 mm.
SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana said that landslides hit areas where the soil composition has poor water-holding capacity.
Most areas in the Subic Freeport are considered “moderately susceptible” to rain-induced landslide, she added.
As of now, the SBMA is doing both prevention and cure—deploying sandbags to fortify erosion-prone slopes, while clearing eroded slopes of the rubble. (PNA)
(c) Ruben Veloria