Agusan flood ‘bakwits’ now at 41,000

AGUSAN DEL SUR (MindaNews) – Close to 41,000 people have already evacuated to higher and safer grounds while 745 houses have been destroyed in the floods that swept 28 barangays in four towns and a city in this province since Monday.

Meanwhile, in Maguindanao province, about 87 percent of the land area of the municipality of Datu Montawal ¬– practically all of its 11 barangays – is reportedly still covered with flood waters.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of Agusan del Sur reported on Thursday that 40,946 people living in low lying barangays were affected when rivers and creeks overflowed. The report said 22 of the 745 damaged houses were washed out when rampaging flashfloods hit five barangays of Rosario town – Cabawan, Tagbayagan, Novele, Libuac and Poblcaion.

Armando Gomez, chief of staff of Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza, said 13,971 persons are temporarily housed in 10 evacuation centers in the towns of San Francisco, Rosario, Loreto and San Luis and in Bayugan City.

Reports said that 10 barangays were under water in Rosario, eight in Loreto, five in San Francisco, three in San Luis and one in Bayugan City.

Gomez also said that several barangays near the Agusan River in La Paz town were reportedly hit by flashfloods when the river overflowed. Agusan River is the main passage of tributary rivers from Compostela Valley in the Davao Region in the south all the way to Agusan del Norte in the north.

At least four barangays in La Paz – Bataan, Osmeña Sr., Panagan-an and San Patricio – are considered as highly susceptible to flooding by the PDRRMO.

Gomez said medical teams were dispatched to evacuation centers to monitor the health and sanitation of the evacuees. He said a relief team led by Vice Gov. Santiago Cane has so far distributed 426 sacks of rice and other relief goods to flood victims in La Paz.

Reports on damage to properties, livestock, agriculture and infrastructure were not yet determined. No casualties were also reported.

In Maguindanao, Mayor Datu Uttoh Montawal said over the radio stations of Notre Dame Broadcasting Corp. that 40,000 of the 46,100 hectares of his municipality are still under flood waters.

Flood waters have reportedly affected all barangays: Limbalod, Maridagao, Batong-kayo, Bulit, Nabundas, Tunggol, Dungguan, Talapas, Talitay, Bulod and Pagagawan. (Alden Pantaleon and Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)