Isulan farmlands damaged by floods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – More than 80 hectares of rice farmlands in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat have been devastated due to flashfloods triggered by the swelling of a major river in the area.

Isulan Mayor Diosdado Pallasigue said Tuesday a portion of Barangay Bambad remained submerged in floodwaters as heavy rains in the area since last week caused anew the critical Allah River to overflow towards nearby farmlands and communities.

No casualties have been reported but several houses sustained partial damages as a result of the floods, he said.

The mayor said a still undetermined number of farm animals were also washed away earlier by rushing floodwaters.

“The area is still heavily flooded but we’re trying to control the flow of the floodwaters right now to spare other nearby communities and farmlands,” Pallasigue said.

Through the initiative of Bambad barangay officials, he said local residents and volunteers from nearby areas initially established dikes made of sand bags to control the flooding and help restore the river’s normal flow.

Pallasigue said the initiative helped stop the floodwaters from swelling towards other threatened areas but he said they still need to put up more sand bag dikes to fully control the situation.

Citing an initial assessment made by the Isulan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), the mayor said the heavy siltation along the river’s main channel mainly caused the swelling of its waters.

A study earlier made by the Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance (AVLADA), a local government-led body that oversees the rehabilitation of the Allah River and its environs, cited that portions of the river channel already elevated by several meters due to the heavy concentration of silt.

Such situation caused the river to expand, eating up hundreds of hectares of farmlands and portions of some local communities, AVLADA said.

Allah River, which is considered the biggest river channel in the area, traverses at least nine municipalities and a city within the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

It drains towards the Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao and eventually to the Rio Grande de Mindanao and the Moro Gulf.

Pallasigue said the municipal government, through the MDRRMC’s recommendation, is rushing the stocking of some 35,000 sand bags to complete the dike that they are currently putting up along the riverbanks.

He said they are planning to prop up the dikes through the planting of bamboos within their vicinity.

“If we don’t do this, the floodwaters may eventually eat up some 200 hectares more of the nearby rice lands and even reach the rear portion of our municipal hall and the public market,” Pallasigue said.

Meantime, the mayor said they are currently evacuating some residents whose homes were affected by the floods to prevent possible accidents.

“The situation is still considered critical because of the sporadic rains. We want everyone to temporarily evacuate the flooded areas as safety precaution in case another flashflood occurs,” he stressed. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)