MAGUINDANAO: Relief goods finally arrived at 13 towns flooded due to heavy rains last week courtesy of humanitarian teams of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
To hasten the release of funds for flooded areas, the Office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan earlier declared the province of Ma–guindanao under a state of calamity in a special meeting on June 19.
Maguindanao Governor Es–mael “Toto” Mangudadatu said an initial two tons of rice along with canned goods, noodles, medicines, and vitamin supplements have been alloted for affected residents.
Chief provincial budget officer Lynette Estandarte, head of the relief mission, said 1,730 packs of rice, noodles and basic medicines, including paracetamol and vitamins have been distributed in Northern Kabuntalan on Monday.
Estandarte said relief operations will be expanded to flooded areas in the upper Maguindanao Delta, which connects to the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, the “catch basin” of large rivers that spring from watersheds in surrounding hinterlands in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
She said relief workers used rubber boats to reach remote inundated villages in Northern Kabuntalan town and other muddy portions of eight other flooded towns.
Mangudadatu said he was “worried about the floods’ effect on the productivity of farming communities,” noting that “big tracts of lands with ready-to-harvest crops have been inundated based on initial assessment reports.”
Provincial Board Members Asnawi Sinsuat Limbona and Bobby Katambak said the perceived adverse effects of floods on farm production prompted the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to declare a state of calamity.
The provincial relief operations are being carried out by the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Relief Team (Heart), which distributed seven truckloads of food supplies to flooded areas in Northern Ka–buntalan, Mother Kabuntalan, Sultan sa Barongis, Mamasapano, and Datu Abdullah Sangki towns.
The Heart, headed by ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia, hopes to finish its work before the week ends.
Heart information officer Josephine Myrna Henry said the team has more than five tons of relief goods to be distributed to far-flung areas in the province.