Close to 8,000 families displaced by floods

Carmelito Lupo, chair of the regional disaster coordinating council and OCD regional director, also said seven were declared missing and one was confirmed dead in the floods that affected some barangays of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Gingoog cities.

A 12-year old child reportedly drowned in Gingoog City, Lupo said.

The official said torrential rains Saturday brought by cloudbursts caused the flooding, which damaged at least 168 houses and partially damaged 126 others.

He said 9,930 persons evacuated from Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro where most of the damage was observed.

The floods affected 13 barangays in Cagayan de Oro and 11 in Iligan City, he said.

Lupo said two of the seven persons declared missing in Cagayan de Oro have so far been identified in media reports as Angel Vencio, 6, and Christina Dapusala, 5.

In a text message to MindaNews, Lupo said that while the cloudbursts were concentrated in Bukidnon their effect was worse downstream particularly in Cagayan de Oro.

He said in an interview with ABS-CBN Cagayan de Oro Monday that the local
weather bureau’s rain gauge measured the rainfall at more than 100 millimeters.  

Residents interviewed by ABS-CBN Cagayan de Oro said they observed "strong water current" and that the "flood came so fast". 

Lupo said the local government and volunteers from civic groups were quick to respond to the disaster.

But he said the victims need more medicines, food, clothing, sleeping materials, among others.

The City Disaster Coordinating Council decided in a meeting over the weekend that gymnasiums would be used as evacuation centers instead of classrooms, he said. 

He said an aerial survey on January 4 showed that residents whose houses were not destroyed may return.

He said they saw no landslides in the areas affected but warned residents to be more careful.

He told MindaNews illegal mining in the area should be stopped to help prevent the same thing from happening again.

The flash floods and rains in the region came ahead of President Arroyo's four-day visit in Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, and Misamis Occidental starting today. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)