South Cot riverbank folk alerted of flood

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 July) – South Cotabato officials alerted communities situated along the province’s critical rivers and tributaries following a flashflood in a major river in T’boli town over the weekend that left three persons dead.

Isidro Janita, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief, said Monday they issued an advisory directing the municipal and barangay disaster risk reduction and management councils to closely monitor the water levels of rivers and tributaries in the wake of the continuing rains.

On Saturday afternoon, a flashflood hit a portion of the Sapali River in T’boli town, drowning three residents of Purok Everlasting in Barangay Sinolon.

Norberto Lapastora, T’boli municipal administrator, identified the victims as Jocelyn Gulac, 23, Jasmin Gulac, 12, and Maricel Buhale, 13.

He said the victims were washing clothes along the Sapali River when they were swept by a flashflood at around 4 p.m. Saturday.

The remains of the three victims were later recovered by local rescuers at a portion of the river in Barangay Lamsugod in nearby Surallah town.

“The river’s water level initially rose and rushing floodwaters suddenly came,” he said.

The official said their initial investigation showed that flashfloods were triggered by landslides at the upper portion of the river that came following the sporadic heavy rains in the area since Friday.

Janita said they initially conducted a damage analysis and needs assessment to address the impact of the incident and the immediate needs of the affected residents.

He said the provincial government will immediately release relief goods and financial assistance to the families of the three victims.

As a result of the incident, Janita said they have directed municipal and barangay officials to clear residents off the banks of major rivers and tributaries in the area.

He said they also advised them to keep their disaster response teams on alert and evacuate residents to safer areas when necessary. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)