• State of calamity in flooded Maguindanao declared

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    Its provincial government has placed Maguindanao province under state of calamity as floods displaced thousands of families in 158 villages in 18 of 36 towns in the province compounding earlier evacuations triggered by sporadic atrocities between government and rebel forces.

    Governor Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao told reporters on Thursday he had signed Resolution No. 2 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) declaring the state of calamity.

    “This declaration would magnify and hasten our relief operations,” he told reporters at his town of Buluan, which is also inundated albeit slightly.

    Mangudadatu said the deposition enabled the provincial government to procure non-food items such as shelter materials and other supplies needed in the evacuation sites of little over 32,000 families in the fresh flooding caused by incessant downpours.

    The provincial government’s figure on flood affected families in Maguindanao is 16,000 lesser than the 48,725 statistics earlier reported by the social welfare department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as of Thursday. The governor said their figure was based on actual body counts.

    ARMM social welfare workers, twice led by Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman, have been distributing relief goods to flood-displaced Maguindanao residents even before the calamity state declaration.

    Mangudadatu said their relief workers initially distributed food supplies including rice, instant noodles, and canned sardines to displaced villagers in Pagalungan, Montawal, Sultan sa Barongis, Buluan and Pandag, all in the second district of Maguindanao.

    Relief workers were also fielded to distribute supplies to 4 other inundated towns scattered in the two district of Maguindanao, he added.

    At least 11 of the 37 villages in this city have also been inundated with some 30,000 residents affected, forcing the city government to first declare a state of calamity earlier.

    Medical and agriculture authorities have also been mobilized to assess effects of the flood on the health and agricultural situations in the flooded Maguindanao towns.

    A space of recent armed clashes between soldiers and brigand Moro rebels had displaced over 3,000 residents in Maguindanao’s Gindulungan, Datu Piang and Shariff Saidona towns. Many of the evacuees had returned homes but some continued to stay in evacuation shelters for fear of renewed clashes. Moh I. Saaduddin

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