“Worst flood” hits Zambo City

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ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/08 October)—Floods due to intermittent heavy rains since Friday submerged parts of this city Tuesday in what an official said is “the worst flood to hit Zamboanga City in recent memory.”

Adriano Fuego, Office of Civil Defense director for Region 9, told MindaNews Tuesday morning that at least 11 villages in the city were flooded.

By noon, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco’s flood update as posted in her Facebook account said 2,869 families or 8,848 persons had been displaced by the floods in 22 barangays and are in 30 evacuation centers.

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Residents cross the flood using used inflated tire tubes and a rope in Zamboanga City on October 8, 2013. MindaNews photo by Bong S. Sarmiento

Zamboanga City, which has 98 barangays, is still reeling from the 20-day standoff last month between government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under founding chair Nur Misuari that left over a hundred persons dead and at least 100,000 displaced. The standoff also paralyzed the city’s economy as businesses were forced to shutdown.

Many of the evacuees had to flee to higher grounds due to the floods. At the Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex, scores of makeshift tents were flooded as well. While many sought higher grounds, a number of them  stayed on despite the floods.

The mayor’s update also said there were “2 casualties –victims of drowning —1 person missing.”

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) website listed two persons from Barangay San Jose Gusu died from drowning.

Damaged agricultural crops include 640 hectares of riceland; 1,243 hectares corn; 200 hectares of assorted vegetables. About 2,000 hectares of fishpond and 900 hectares of seaweed were also among those flooded, according to the mayor’s update.
In some parts of the city, floodwaters nearly reached the second floor of houses, forcing residents to evacuate to nearby schools.

The city government cancelled early morning classes in all levels and suspended  work in all government offices, except those providing frontline services.

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Policemen put on their life vests to rescue victims of the flooding in Zamboanga City on October 8, 2013. MindaNews photo by Gigi Bueno

Rep. Lilia Nuño (2nd district) said one of the worst affected villages was Barangay Vitali, which is within her congressional district.

She said that her office has already sent some relief goods to the flood victims.

In Tungawan town in Zamboanga Sibugay, Angelito Casinillo, OCD area coordinator for Zamboanga del Sur, reported that a landslide along the highway stranded at least 200 vehicles.

Casinillo, who was on his way to this city in the morning, said the landslide occurred at around 10 p.m. Monday in Barangay Upper Tungawan.

Traffic was back to normal early afternoon.

Casinillo was able to reach this city in the morning by taking a habal-habal (motorcycle) to cross to the other side and take a public transport. (Bong S.Sarmiento / MindaNews)

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