COTABATO CITY: Floods caused by intermittent heavy rains displaced 45,594 families in Maguindanao on Monday, prompting disaster officials to deploy relief teams to the inundated villages.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) dispersed relief workers to help residents of 158 villages in 18 of the 36 towns in Maguindanao yesterday.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, RDDRMC chairman, led relief workers to Kabuntalan, Sultan Kudarat and Montawal towns, which reportedly suffered the brunt of flooding.
Also flooded were the towns of Shariff Saidona, Datu Salibo, Shariff Aguak, Rajah Buayan, Mamasapano, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Sultan-sa-Barongis, Datu Paglas, Northern Kabuntalan, Pandag, S.K. Pendatun, Buluan and Mangudadatu.
The regional relief operations complemented the services launched earlier by separate teams formed by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who had sought assistance from higher authorities.
Hataman ordered Regional Public Works Secretary Emil Sadain to inspect the national bridge in Barangay Tunggol in Montawal town whose riprapped banks and footing were reportedly eaten up by rampaging floodwaters.
The bridge, which is the only link between this city and Maguindanao to North Cotabato and Davao regions, could collapse amid the continuing downpour.
The city government here declared a state of calamity on Friday after floods swamped almost 20 percent of 36 barangays, while North Cotabato Gov. Emylou Taliño Mendoza convened the provincial relief panel to address worsening floods in Tulunan, Kabacan, Pikit and Mlang, among other towns.
Radio reports have placed the figure of flood-affected residents in this city and North Cotabato at more than 5,000 families.
The evacuation of flood victims was hampered by sporadic firefights between soldiers and brigand Moro guerillas.
Some 1,000 villagers remained in evacuation centers in Maguindanao because they fear attacks by suspected elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Dozens of families were earlier displaced in villages of Matalam, North Cotabato and Kidapawan City due to intermittent fighting between field members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front over territorial or land control. (Moh I. Saaduddin)
Meanwhile, the city of Koronadal is also considering declaring a state of calamity following a series of flashfloods over the weekend that affected at least eight barangays.
Cyrus Urbano, city administrator, said the extent of the damage wrought by the flashfloods is being evaluated.
He said the nonstop rains, which started early Friday, caused the Bulok Creek and Marbel River to overflow and submerged nearby communities.
The areas affected by flooding covered portions of barangays Assumption, Mambucal, Sta. Cruz, San Isidro, Carpenter Hill, Namnama, Concepcion and Zone 3 in Poblacion.
The official said relief operations are ongoing for the affected families in Namnama and Concepcion.
“We have enough food stocks for the relief operations and the city social welfare and development office has been stockpiling additional supplies,” he said.
He said the results of the assessment will determine whether there is a need to declare the entire city under a state of calamity.
WITH A REPORT FROM PNA