KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/12 June) – Forty-four families living near a riverbank here evacuated to safer grounds when floodwaters reached as high as 15 feet, around 1:30 a.m. today.
Nurkaya Patadon, one of the flood victims, said many of their belongings were swept to the Nuangan River, one of the longest rivers in North Cotabato.
Patadon’s family and 43 others decided to leave their homes for fear the waters might rise again due to torrential rains.
Heavy rains started to pour around 9:30 p.m. Monday, and continued until Tuesday afternoon, according to Psalmer Bernalte, head of the Kidapawan City Emergency Response Unit, one of the groups that conducted rescue operations.
Kasan Maruhom, one of the displaced residents, said that today’s flashflood was the worst since 2000.
“We never thought the floodwaters could rise as high as 15 feet. What happened today was the worst. I’ve lived in this area for more than 30 years,” said Maruhom.
He said he would transfer his family to Mundog Subdivision, in the poblacion.
Others, however, have problems finding areas where they can relocate.
“We don’t know where to go. We have no place to stay other than the riverbank. Our workplace is here in the poblacion,” said Salik Quila.
Bernalte said the Nuangan River rose as heavy rains brought by a low pressure area continued to pour across North Cotabato accompanied by thunderstorms.
Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco has already ordered the immediate evacuation of the families living near the riverbanks, including Lapu-Lapu Street, Cotelco Village, and Licatan Subdivision, all in the poblacion.
“We’ve already given them orders in the past to leave the place, yet they won’t listen,” said Gantuangco.
He said the city government has offered a relocation site in Barangay Balindog.
The mayor said they are set to declare a state of calamity so they can release funds for the flood victims.
He added the City Social Welfare and Development Office and the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council have been ordered to conduct immediate relief operations. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)