Iligan under state of calamity due to floods

Cruz and the City Disaster Coordinating Council went around the affected areas Sunday night, rescuing families and children in the heavily flooded and impassable Mahayahay village.

Long-time residents said the last time the city experienced this kind of flooding was in the early 1970s.

The floodwaters along the city’s main road connecting Lanao and Iligan reached above waist level.

In barangay Tubod, the bridge could not be seen due to the overflow.

The flood also caused traffic, stalling cars and a bus whose passengers opted to disembark and walk through the flooded streets.

Elizabeth Fuentes, nursing her 5-month old baby in an evacuation center, recounted how the floodwaters reached the second floor o their house in Mahayahay.

“There are 68 families in Merila here who have left their homes and stayed in a Catholic chapels for temporary refuge. We are still waiting for food and relief goods. We need the government’s and non-government assistance,” said Inday Baredo, while showing a list of evacuees.

Evelyn Lomosad, a 35 year old resident of Santa Lucia in Mahayahay kept sobbing. “I have not yet seen my four children,” she said, adding, “ my neighbor said that my house was totally destroyed by flood.”

Lomosad was in the market selling goods and felt helpless that the highway in Tubod and Mahayahay was impassable Monday night.

“My 8 month old son who was left in our home with my three other children, has measles. I do not know where my husband is,” she cried.

Boy Edroso, head of the Disaster Coordinating Council of the city, said the flood devastated the villages of Mahayahay, part of Tubod, Tipanoy, part of Palao, Ubaldo Laya, Dalipuga, Luinab, Tambacan and Pugaan.

Residents of barangay Abuno also fled to safer grounds.

Edroso said that evacuees are temporarily sheltered in the auditorium of Iligan City National High School, in Catholic chapels, while others fled to their relatives’ homes.

“We have also rescued two young persons aged 18 and 20 years old who are still in a state of shock,” he said.

“The council has already met and we have discussed that we will focus on relief operations. We are also asking those kind-hearted associations who could help us provide clothing and food for our evacuees,” Edroso said.

He also added, “that as the city government has declared that we are in a state of calamity, we are supposed to fast track the disaster response.”

Edroso explained that the heavy rains were caused by a low pressure area in Northern Mindanao.

In Naawan and Manticao, Misamis Oriental, several houses and fishponds also suffered from the floods.

“The milkfish pond in MSU-Naawan School of fisheries overflowed,” one of the residents reported.

Civil society representatives have yet to meet to discuss disaster response. Some of their offices, too, were not spared.

Also flooded are five non-government offices in Mahayahay, including BirthDev Inc., an institution that focuses on relief and emotional recovery response in times of disaster.

As of press time, floodwaters were still rising as heavy rains continued to pour.(Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)