• Thousands flee Mindanao floods


    SULTAN KUDARAT: Thousands of residents from low-lying areas in this province were evacuated on Friday because of flash floods caused by heavy downpour early this week.

    The villages of Bulalo, Salimbao, Calsada, Banobo, Katuli, Torres, Mulaog, Gang, Macaguiling and Limbo remained submerged in flood-waters on Friday, a day after the water level went roof-high.

    Authorities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said at least 10,000 families were affected by the floods caused by the swelling of the Ambal River and the non-stop rain since Wednesday.

    A 35-year-old farmer identified as Maungko Mastura was reported missing since Wednesday after he was swept away by rampaging floodwaters while trying to cross a river in the town of Buldon while 10-year-old Jing Laure drowned after falling from the roof of his house on Thursday.

    ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman and Sultan Kudarat Mayor Shameen Mastura led the distribution of relief goods to thousands of displaced families.

    Hataman and Mastura were accompanied by ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team personnel and other local officials.

    As of this writing, an overcast was observed over Maguindanao.

    Norhata Ayunan, a resident of barangay Limbo, said the affected areas are always swept by flood during rainy days.

    “I have lost count as to how many times our village has been flooded. It is almost always expected every time it rains,” said Ayunan.

    This is the reason why the provincial government is constantly monitoring the weather and possible swelling of the Ambal River, said ARMM Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Director Ramil Masukat.

    Ayunan went to the village center to receive relief goods from the ARMM provincial government, along with at least 1,500 other families.

    With an elder relative in tow, she braved the waist-deep water that still inundated her village.

    “It was unimaginable yesterday,” Ayunan said.

    Hataman said the regional government is looking into two things in order to remedy the problem of Sultan Kudarat—first is to provide the residents with permanent relocation site, and second, to conduct massive dredging to Ambal River.

    “These are the solutions that we are exploring right now,” said Hataman.


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