Thursday, Aug 06

The Rage of the River

September 05, 2019 | Anna Geronimo

The river flooded and severely damaged Elisa Bitah’s home by the riverside.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

Story Highlights

  • On August 28, 2019, heavy rains hit Davao, the river rose and flooded their respective areas. But there are those who live near the river banks that barely escaped. These are their stories.


The Tzu Chi Clean Up Drive started on September 4 and ended in September 6. People living near the river banks are in dire need of assistance as the river devastated homes that lined its banks.

Epifania Dorado, whose house was smashed by debris from the river and collided with three houses in Purok 62, Talomo said, “If we hadn’t fled to higher ground, we surely would’ve been swept away. If we can rebuild our house even to a simple hut, we would be happy. Our neighbours help us by giving us food, clothes, and other needs. Thank you Tzu Chi for coming here and helping us.”

In Purok 46-B, a similar incident happened to houses that line their little village. Elisa Bitah, whose house was also by the riverside lost everything, she said, “We were displaced by the flood. I have four sons who just lost a home. This is the first time that, over four years of living here, a flood has devoured our entire home. We weren’t able to save anything because we fled with our children. We’re still waiting for instructions about relocating. We need to be relocated because who knows if this will happen again”.

Joven Uy, a Tzu Chi Volunteer from Bohol who understood their vernacular said solemnly, “We’ve seen how the houses are by the river are prone to flooding. The long-term solution here is for the residents to be relocated away from the river so that they won’t be at risk. Tzu Chi has done this before, relocating 70 families away from the river in Bohol. However, here in Davao, that will depend on the arrangements made by the local government.”

  • Epifania Dorado, with her grandson and daughter stand in the wreckage of their home.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • The house is uprooted and nothing but the cement ground was left.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Epifania Dorado, her granddaughter, Reyver Dorado and daughter Ria Dorado are safe and sound with the help of their neighbours. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Ezekiel Antipuesto sits by what’s left of their home.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • The only thing that has remained intact of the Dorado’s former home is their green door.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • The Tzu Chi volunteers coordinate with Purok 46-B leader Domingo Dañola to survey their area.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Heavy equipment builds a small dam to try and contain water from the river. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • What is left of Elisa Bitah’s home are its foundations. Everything else was swept away.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • It is too dangerous to live by the river now. They are hoping to relocate to a safer place.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】