CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 January) — Army soldiers and rescuers are trying to reach a mountain village in Misamis Oriental that has reportedly ran out of food after it was isolated in the past five days.
Eduardo Pacamalan Jr., head of the Misamis Oriental disaster management agency said soldiers and rescue volunteers will try to cross the swollen Linugos River on Sunday to reach Barangay Tama in Magsaysay town in Misamis Oriental, where some 118 families are awaiting assistance.
“This is very tricky because the river has overflowed its banks and the current is very strong. We will use rubber boats to bring sacks of rice and foodstuff across,” Pacamalan said.
He said crossing the Linugos River is dangerous as floodwaters rose to more than eight feet, overflowing its banks since Tuesday.
“The villagers sent their able-bodied men to get food and report their predicament to us,” he said.
Pacamalan said the men had to walk five hours to reach the village of Kalipay in nearby Nasipit town in Agusan del Norte.
Torrential rains for a week now, triggered by a low pressure area that later developed into tropical depression “Agaton,” also affected some 500 families of fishermen in two villages in Gingoog City.
Pacamalan said the fishermen in barangay Santa Cruz and Villa Filipa complained that they have not ventured out to fish since last week due to the bad weather.
The Misamis Oriental Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported more than 226 families or some 900 persons have already evacuated ahead of Agaton’s arrival.
In Cagayan de Oro, officials on Saturday raised the “Orange “ alert and ordered the preemptive evacuation in 20 barangays that would be threatened if Cagayan de Oro River overflows.
“We advised pregnant women, children, the sick, the elderly and disabled to evacuate. We only allow abled-bodied household members to be left behind to safeguard their belongings,” Maricel Casino Rivera, Cagayan de Oro public information officer said.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 190 families had sought shelter in evacuation centers as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
Rivera acknowledges that many residents do not leave their homes despite their pleas to evacuate.
“If the water level in Kabula and Talakag rivers rises tonight, we will immediately raise the alert level Red and start the forced evacuation,” Rivera said on Sunday.
Kabula and Talakag rivers are major tributaries of the Cagayan de Oro River, which in 2011, overflowed it banks during typhoon Sendong killing hundreds or people in the city. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)