ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/9February) – Thousands of residents were displaced as 13 barangays in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, were submerged Thursday and “remain under water with no sign of the water receding.”
Dapitan City Councilor Apple Marie Agolong disclosed the flood was spawned by continuous heavy rains starting Wednesday night until around 10 a.m. Thursday.
Agolong said the flood water started rising around 6 a.m. Thursday and worsened when the rivers in nearby towns swelled and overflowed towards Dapitan.
Dapitan is bounded on the east by the towns of Rizal and Sibutad, Dipolog City on the west, the towns La Libertad and Mutia on the south and on the north by the Sulu Sea.
Agolong said the roads are not passable except for the big vehicles, citing it is neck-deep in some areas “while in some areas it is up to eight feet high.”
“The water level didn’t recede and the affected families fear that the situation will worsen because it is going to be high tide again at midnight,” she added.
The affected barangays are Barcelona, Ba-ao, Burgos, Dampalan, Diwa-an, Ilaya, Masidlakon, Oyan, Opao, Potungan, Polo, Sulangon, and Tamion.
“This never happened before. The most was only Barangay Burgos got flooded and the water receded in a few hours,” Agolong said.
She however could not say yet whether there are casualties, as well as the extent of destruction to properties.
Agolong said several of the thousands of residents affected have no food and potable water to drink as only big trucks, speedboats and jet skis serve as modes of transportation to rescue victims and bring relief goods to the affected barangays.
The rains likewise caused landslides in neighboring Sapang Dalaga municipality in Misamis Occidental before dawn Thursday, causing delay among motorists. The highway, however, was cleared in the morning, allowing passage of vehicles.
But vehicles bound for the cities of Dapitan and Dipolog were stranded again as flood waters blocked the highway. (MindaNews)