Sudden rise of flood waters sends fear to Butuan barangay

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews / 21 Nov) – Hundreds of residents in Barangay Bonbon here were surprised when they were greeted with a sudden rise of flood water after several small creeks overflowed with the sudden rush of water coming from the nearby Mount Mayapay Tuesday morning.

The non-stop rains brought by the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over Butuan City since Monday evening caused several flooding all over the city, especially among the rural barangays.

Susan Orbita, a resident of Purok 2 beside Bonbon Creek, said that upon waking up around 5 a.m., she was shocked to see the water that apparently entered their home while they were still asleep.

“It was raining the entire evening so we were really in a deep sleep. When the water was already in our home, we did not know what to do; we panicked and just tried our best to get out and find higher ground,” Orbita said. “We were afraid that our home might be swept by the strong current,” she added.

She said she lost several of her chickens as there was no more time to rescue them.

“I immediately instructed my husband to save our pigs while me and the children were getting out. We are used to floods here, but this time it was stronger and quicker than before. Fortunately, the waters suddenly subsided around 9 or 10 in the morning,” said Orbita.

One of the houses in Purok 2 lost its fences, while others lost their livestock. Some people’s belongings were carried away outside their houses.

Avelina Ona, chairperson of the barangay, pointed out that it was the first time that such sudden flood happened in their barangay.

She said she got a text early in the morning about the ITCZ and the rain that will come with it. She added she didn’t expect that many puroks in the barangay will be flooded. “I was really shocked how fast the waters went up. I immediately instructed several of our barangay police personnel to help out and asked our purok leaders to evaluate if they needed to be evacuated,” said Ona.

Flor Blanco, Purok 7 chairman, estimated that half of the homes in her area were affected by the flood.

“The entire morning, no vehicle could come in and get out from our area. You would have to swim against the strong current just to get through. We were afraid that it might get worse. Good thing that the waters subsided just for us to get across, but took several more hours for smaller vehicles to get through,” said Blanco.

In Purok 5A, hundreds of homes were flooded.

“I was afraid. Waking up to such a sight was a frightening experience. The waters just kept on rising. In several parts the water level was up to the waist. We even prepared some of our stuff to evacuate just in case things would get worse,” said Leonedes Ibanez, a resident of Purok 5A.

Bong Catedral, officer-in-charge of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, said in a local television interview that there was nothing to worry, stressing that the situation is under control.

He said that by 11 a.m., water level was already below alert level. “In the city proper, the streets were all flooded because of the overflowed canals. But talking about the barangays affected by floods, there have been no reports of that yet,” said Catedral.

Around 4 p.m. with the waters gradually going down, several of the homes in Purok 5A and 7 in Barangay Bonbon were still flooded. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)