Floods displace 47 families in Alabel

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 July) — Forty seven families in Alabel town in Sarangani Province have evacuated on Monday night as flashfloods submerged anew two low-lying villages in the area.

Jerome Barranco, officer-in-charge of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region 12, said Tuesday the floods swept Puroks Tagumpay and Maharlika in Barangay Poblacion and portions of Barangay Ladol following several hours of heavy rains on Monday afternoon in the town’s upland areas.

He said the almost nonstop rains caused the area’s two critical creeks — Molo and Cogonal — to overflow, swamping nearby communities.

A report released by the Alabel Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) said a total of 167 individuals have evacuated from the flooded communities as of Tuesday morning.

Floodwaters reaching around four feet high submerged portions of the two villages, leaving an initial estimated damage of P500,000 to crops and valuables.

The council has released initial relief assistance to the evacuees, who are currently taking temporarily shelter at the municipal gymnasium.

“We’re continually monitoring the situation there and also preparing additional supplies to augment the relief operations,” Barranco said.

The official urged residents in the region, especially those situated in low-lying and coastal areas, to remain vigilant against possible floods, landslides and other weather-related calamities due to the Intertropical Convergence Zone affecting parts of Mindanao.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

He said residents should brace for sporadic rains especially in the afternoon that might trigger flashfloods and landslides.

“It’s important for our residents in identified critical areas to coordinate with their barangay disaster teams and watch out for possible early warning signals,” Barranco said.

He said they should also prepare evacuation plans and set aside emergency kits or standby supplies of food, water and other necessary items.

Meantime, Barranco said a total of 83 structures were reported as damaged following the onslaught of a tornado in barangays Katico and Romualdez in President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat late Sunday afternoon.

He said the damaged structures included houses, stores and warehouses situated in Barangay Katico, which was hit by the twister at around 5:20 p.m.

Barranco said four houses were totally destroyed while 21 others sustained partial damages.

In Barangay Romualdez, he said several electric lines and posts of the Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative were also damaged.

“The damage assessment is presently ongoing and a needs assessment is also being conducted to facilitate the release of necessary assistance to the affected residents,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)