50 families displaced in Sarangani floods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 27 July) – Around 50 families were displaced as flashfloods and landslides spawned by torrential rains ravaged six villages in the coastal town of Glan in Sarangani Province in the last two days.

Glan Mayor Victor James Yap said on Saturday five villages in the area were swept by flashfloods while another was temporarily isolated by landslides due to the almost nonstop rains since early Friday.

The rains were triggered by an approaching low pressure area that is embedded along the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) affecting Mindanao.

On Friday afternoon, the mayor said several roads leading to Barangay Batulaki and the neighboring areas were rendered impassable due to landslides.

He said seven public school teachers assigned in Barangay Kaltuad were trapped for several hours due to the flashfloods that forced them to seek refuge at the roof of a school building.

But Yap said the teachers were rescued and were able to return to their homes Friday night.

A report from the Glan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) said flashfloods also swept barangays Laguimit, Cross, Big Margus and Small Margus, forcing 50 families to evacuate to safer grounds.

The floods, which reportedly reached chest-deep or around four feet in some areas, were caused by the swelling of several waterways following hours of heavy rains, the report said.

No casualties were reported during the incident but six houses in Laguimit and one in Cross were washed away by the rushing floodwaters.

Yap said the municipal government has already released relief assistance to residents of the affected villages.

“We already informed the concerned government agencies regarding the status of some of our roads due to the floods and landslides,” he told radio station Bombo Radyo.

The mayor added that the MDRRMO, Glan police station and local rescue teams are currently on alert as the situation remains volatile due to the sporadic rains.

In its 4 p.m. weather advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the low pressure area was estimated based on all available data at the vicinity of Davao Oriental (7.5° North, 126.5° East).

It said “Mindanao will experience cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rain showers and thunderstorms which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.”

Moderate to occasionally strong winds blowing from the southwest will prevail over Palawan and Mindanao and the coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to occasionally rough, it added.