Maguindanao floods displace 45,594 families

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FLOODS caused by intermittent heavy rains displaced a total of 45,594 families in Maguindanao province as of 10 a.m. yesterday, authorities reported as they batted for cohesive relief operations and assistance from national line agencies.

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The regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) dispersed separate relief teams to respond to 158 inundated villages in 18 of the 36 towns in Maguindanao yesterday.

Governor Mujiv Hataman of ARMM, RDDRMC chair, personally led relief workers to Kabuntalan, Sultan Kudarat and Montawal towns, which reportedly suffered the brunt of flooding.

The 15 other flooded Maguindanao towns are 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 Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, who had sought assistance from higher authorities.

Hataman ordered Regional Public Works Secretary Emil Sadain to inspect yesterday the national bridge along Barangay Tunggol in Montawal town whose riprapped banks and footing were reportedly eaten up by rampaging flood.

The bridge, serving as the only link between this city and Maguindanao to North Cotabato and Davao regions, was feared to collapse sans a remedial action amid the continuing downpours.

The DRRMCs in North Cotabato and this city have yet to release updates on evacuation caused by floods in their areas of jurisdiction.

The city government here declared a state of calamity Friday after floods swelled to almost 20 percent of 36 barangays here, while North Cotabato Governor Emylou Taliño Mendoza convened her provincial DRRMC Saturday 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 involving an estimated 15 individuals.

The flood-affected evacuees, which the radio reports expected to rise rapidly amid the daily downpours, compounded the evacuation caused by sporadic firefights between soldiers and brigand Moro guerillas.

Some 1,000 villagers remained in evacuation centers in Maguindanao for fear of life in recurring 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.

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