Flash floods hit 3 Malaybalay barangays

Virginia Flores, Malaybalay City Social Welfare and Development Officer, told MindaNews spillover water from Kulasihan River in Lantapan, an upland town, flowed into barangays Aglayan, Bangcud and Cabangahan.

Kulasihan River is a tributary of the Manupali River that cuts through the villages. The Manupali River drains into the big Pulangui River.

The city government identified a family in Aglayan, 182 families in Bangcud, and 96 others in Cabangahan as among those whose houses were flooded. The count included the nine washed out by floodwaters.

As of December 29, no one was reported killed but Manuel Armendrala, 80, a farmer from Purok 7, Bangcud, has remained missing. A pregnant woman was among those hurt by floodwaters that rose at most five-foot deep in Tigbi, a village in Bangcud worst hit by the calamity.

Flores said the floods hit "while everybody was sleeping," at around 10p.m. on December 27.

She identified the villages as "natural flood planes" but believed "the flash floods were possibly caused by tornado."

She said they are still investigating the late night calamity and that they have officially labeled it as "flash floods."

She, however, said it was not the first time flash floods hit the same villages. A person was killed when a flood occurred in the same areas in August.

Flores blamed the floods on the alleged faulty design of the national highway. She said it was constructed in a way that has altered the course of flood waters from areas with higher altitudes.

She said the city government rushed in organizing relief action and distributing relief goods. She said they even set up an evacuation center but residents preferred to stay in relatives' homes.

Residents told MindaNews the floods caught them by surprise. Gina, 28, an elementary school teacher, lamented the damage caused by the floods to their classrooms at the Bangcud Elementary School.

Minda, 39, a homemaker, said there was no heavy rain so they were surprised by the rush of floodwaters. Many residents recounted it was a "buhawi" (tornado).

Cindy Groening, a foreigner who resides at the Summer Institute of Linguistics compound in Bangcud, told MindaNews "rivers" flowed through the SIL grounds. SIL residents and staff were busy reclaiming lawns and properties the morning after the flood.

Flores said damage to crops and properties were estimated to have reached around P10 million in the three barangays. She said the  barangay councils of Bangcud and Cabangahan have declared a state of calamity and have used calamity funds for relief action. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)