GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 July) – Two persons were killed while around 50 families were displaced as flashfloods triggered by torrential rains hit riverside villages in the municipalities of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat in the last two days.
A report from the South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said an elderly mother and her daughter drowned after they were swept by rampaging floodwaters on Tuesday afternoon while trying to cross a creek in Sitio Lem Lebe, Barangay Upper Maculan in Lake Sebu.
Ramon Lon, sitio leader of Lem Lebe, said victims Saya Cala, 65, and Monda Cala, 45, were on their way home from work when the incident happened.
“They decided to go home after it rained hard again that afternoon. They were already at the middle of the creek when the rushing floodwaters came,” he told reporters.
Lon said local rescuers later recovered Monda’s remains at a portion of the Lower Maculan River in Lake Sebu while Saya’s was found along the Allah River in Barangay Moloy in Surallah town, about 4 and 18 kilometers, respectively, from Sitio Lem Lebe.
The creek, which originates from the upland areas of Lake Sebu, drains towards the Lebe and Maculan rivers in Lake Sebu and eventually to the Allah River, which is considered as the biggest river in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
Three residents of a remote village in T’boli town were killed last Saturday after a flashflood hit an upland river that also drains towards the Allah River.
On Monday, the PDRRMO alerted communities situated along the banks of the Allah River and nearby tributaries for the possible occurrence of flashfloods in the wake of the continuing sporadic heavy rains in the area.
In Isulan town, the local government forcibly evacuated at least 50 residents of Purok Riverside in Barangay Kalawag 3 due to the overflowing of the Allah River at around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Isulan Mayor Diosdado Pallasigue said no casualties have been reported but 50 families were directly affected by the floods, which were caused by continuing heavy rains in the area.
The mayor said rescue teams from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army initially transferred around 50 individuals who were situated in identified danger zones to the municipal gymnasium.
He said local rescue teams are presently on standby to ensure their immediate response to any eventuality.
The mayor added that the Isulan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Office of Civil Defense have dispatched their personnel to the affected area to assess the situation. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)