KABACAN, North Cotabato: An overnight moderate to heavy downpour in the mountains of North Cotabato and Bukidnon triggered flash floods Thursday dawn, killing two persons, destroying several houses and inundating low-lying communities, officials said.
The affected communities were in the towns of Mag- pet, Arakan and Kabacan, in North Cotabato.
In Barangay Bantac, Magpet, North Cotabato, two houses were destroyed by rampaging flood-waters. One of the houses, owned by Josephine Gamboa, was carried away by flood while the house of Eduard Lambac was cut in half during the flood.
In Kabacan, thousands of families evacuated when floodwaters submerged low-lying villages, according to David Don Saure, Kabacan disaster officer.
Saure added that the villages of Poblacion, Dagupan, Katid-tuan, Aringay, Bangilan, Kayaga and other low-lying barangays were affected, including the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) campus.
Cynthia Ortega, head of the North Cotabato provincial disaster risk reduction and management council (NDRRMC), confirmed the deaths but clarified that the number of affected residents is still an estimate as disaster responders continue to assess and assist the residents.
She identified the fatality as Brando Amores, a 14-year-old boy who drowned while trying to rescue his ducks and chickens that were carried away by the floodwaters. The other fatality was identified as Winnie Pajenado, 61, who also drowned after trying to save the carabao that his family owned.
Officials said portions of the Kabacan-Carmen national highway was shut down because the floodwaters also inundated the road network with “extra strong water current.”
The North Cotabato provincial disaster risk reduction and management council is still evaluating and assessing the effects of flash floods.
Ortega said a forced evacuation was enforced yesterday to ensure the safety of families living near the riverbanks of Kabacan river.
Several families were eva-cuated in Arakan while more than 300 families are temporarily housed at the USM gymnasium.
The provincial disaster office is still assessing the situation even as it appealed to villagers living in low lying areas to evacuate if the rains will continue in the mountains of North Cotabato.