2 dead, thousands displaced as floods hit Southwestern Mindanao

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/13 June) — Two persons were killed and 13 others have remained missing in flashfloods that swept different parts of Southwestern Mindanao due to heavy rains since Monday night that also affected thousands of families, officials said on Wednesday.


Kalamansig town in Sultan Kudarat province suffered the brunt of the flood, which Mayor Rolando P. Garcia blamed on denuded forests aggravated by small-scale gold mining operations.


“The town has been declared under a state of calamity because of the flood triggered by a heavy rainfall,” he said.


Garcia noted they had to destroy dikes and culverts to prevent floodwater from impounding and causing massive destruction across town should it overflow.


Floodwaters have already subsided today although officials have yet to assess the damage to crops and properties, he added.


Kalamansig is a coastal town about four hours via Cotabato City or seven hours from Koronadal City, the seat of government of Region 12.


At least 2,460 families have been affected by the flashflood in Kalamansig, according to a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).


A shallow low-pressure area was spotted Tuesday in Mindanao and was estimated to be at 210 kilometers east of Northern Mindanao as of 2 a.m. Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.


Pagasa projected cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms in Mindanao for the rest of Wednesday, and warned of possible flashfloods and landslides.


In Glan, Sarangani, two persons died while another one remains missing, Mayor Victor James B. Yap said.


He identified the fatalities as Segapo Cabigding, 63, of Barangay Cross in Glan and Rolando Mata, 40, from Barangay Calumpang in General Santos City.


Cabigding reportedly drowned after being carried away by rushing floodwaters that swept a portion of Purok 5 in Barangay Cross at around 6:45 am.


Mata reportedly drowned after a storm surge destroyed their motorized banca while they were fishing off the coast of Glan Tuesday morning.


Meantime, Police Officer 2 Ruel Balanag, Glan police station spokesman, said in a radio interview that the storm surge destroyed and capsized a total of five motorized bancas off the town’s coastal waters Tuesday morning.
He said 54 fishermen, who were mostly residents of this city and nearby Maasim town in Sarangani, have been so far rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard and local government rescue teams but five of them remained missing.
An MDRRMC report identified one of the missing fishermen as Rani Pregoner, 15, of Barangay Kabatiol, Maasim.
Maasim Mayor Arturo Lawa said 27 of the rescued fishermen from his town have already returned home late Tuesday night through assistance from the local government of Glan.
Lawa said the Maasim MDRRMC is presently coordinating with officials of Glan and other concerned government agencies to help locate the missing fishermen from his town.
“We’ve also dispatched our patrol boats to the area to assist in the search and rescue operations,” he said, adding he has directed all barangay chairs to inform him of any other fishermen still missing in their barangays.


“The search and rescue operations are presently ongoing as there are still a number of fishermen who remained unaccounted and still missing,” Yap said.


Nearly 600 individuals have been affected by the flashfloods in Glan town, Yap reported.


The flashfloods totally destroyed 162 houses and partially damaged 111 others in Glan, he added.


Floods in Maasim, which was also battered by huge waves, have affected 118 families, Lawa said.


In a media advisory from the Sarangani Information Office released noontime Wednesday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that 63 fishermen mostly from Maasim were either washed ashore in Glan or rescued by the Coast Guard in different parts of Sarangani Bay as a shallow low pressure area caused heavy rains early Tuesday (June 12).


As of 3pm today, an advisory from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the number of missing persons reported has reached 88, two in Glan and 86 in Maasim, but 75 were already rescued.


“A total of 568 families in three barangays of Glan (Pangyan, Big Margus and Cross) were affected by flashfloods that occurred in those barangays at around 6am,” said PDRRMO head Ben Solarte.


“Municipal and provincial teams headed by Governor Dominguez and Mayor Tata proceeded to the area affected and distributed emergency food assistance as belongings of affected families including food got soaked with water or contaminated with mud,” Solarte said.


Citing a report from the Glan MDRRMC, Yap said the flashfloods mainly affected Barangays Cross, Small Margus, Pangyan, Big Margus and Poblacion.
He said 192 families in Big Margus, 126 in Pangyan and 250 in Cross or a total of 568 were so far displaced by the floods.


A total of 162 houses, most of which were in Barangay Cross, were totally destroyed while 111 others sustained partial damages, he said.
The MDRRMC initially placed the damage to properties and infrastructure in the area at about P7.2 million.
Among the damaged infrastructure was the main approach of the Pangyan bridge that was valued at about P1 million.
Yap said the affected residents have taken temporary shelter in barangay halls and gymnasiums and were being assisted by MDRRMC personnel.
He said the MDRRMC and the provincial government led by Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez initially delivered food and relief items to the affected areas late Tuesday afternoon.
“The floodwaters have so far subsided but our personnel were still checking whether it’s now safe for the evacuees to return to their homes,” Yap said.
The mayor said he has directed the MDRRMC and the municipal council to convene today to further assess the situation in the affected areas and declare the town under the state of calamity.
“We need to make this declaration so we can augment our relief operations and allocate funds for the immediate repair of the damaged infrastructure,” he said.


The PDRRMC advisory issued this afternoon said that Glan has declared a state of calamity.


Yap said the declaration was prompted by reports from barangay captains that 16 more barangays have also been affected, although they were still assessing the situation.


In Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, 126 families have been affected by flashfloods, the NDRRMC said.


Flashfloods also hit Malaybalay City and Lantapan, both in Bukidnon province, it added. (Bong Sarmiento and Allen Estabillo, with reports from H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)