176 families displaced in SouthCot landslides, floods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 30 Oct) – At least 176 families from two villages in Koronadal City and Tantangan town in South Cotabato were displaced on Tuesday night due to a series of landslides and flashfloods in the area.

Tantangan Mayor Benjamin Figueroa Jr. said they evacuated some 145 families from Barangay New Iloilo late Tuesday after it was swept by waist-deep floodwaters following hours of heavy rains.

He said they temporarily relocated the affected residents, who mainly came from lower portions of the village, to the municipal gymnasium.

“We actually rescued some of them using payloaders and dump trucks as the area was rendered inaccessible to other vehicles due to the rising floodwaters,” the mayor said in a radio interview.

Figueroa said no casualties have been reported as a result of the latest flashfloods, which also affected portions of barangays Bukay Pait, Dumadalig and Maibo.

He said no other evacuations were reported from the three villages, about 50 percent of which were still submerged in floodwaters as of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

On Monday, five villages in the area were initially hit by severe floods and landslides due to hours of almost nonstop rains that started on Sunday night.

The mayor said several road networks within the municipality remained impassable since Monday due to the floods and landslides.

Figueroa said they initially released family food packs and other relief items to the evacuees, most of whom were women and children.

He said the provincial government of South Cotabato also delivered some food items, blankets and mats to augment the ongoing relief operations.

In Koronadal City, Barangay Assumption chair Sagin Monday said they evacuated some 31 families situated near a creek in the area following a series of landslides that hit the area late Tuesday.

He said the landslides practically closed down about a kilometer of the barangay and provincial roads in Sitio Lower Ladol of Barangay Assumption.

“It was fortunate that the boulders did not roll down to the creek area. If that happened, a lot of people would have died,” Monday said.

The village official said they temporarily transferred the affected residents to safer areas, like along the main road.

He said they already requested the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to assess the site where the evacuees were previously settled.

Monday said the City Social Welfare and Development Office has initially released relief assistance to the evacuees while the City Engineer’s Office has sent some heavy equipment to clear the landslide-hit roads.

As a result of the heavy rains on Tuesday night, portions of Koronadal City’s downtown area were hit anew by flashfloods, shutting down some major roads.

The floods, which were caused by the swelling of the critical Bulok Creek, affected the city’s main rotunda, old city hall compound, public market, residential areas and the city’s main commercial district.

The area was also submerged by knee to waist-deep floodwaters early Monday due to the overflowing of the creek following hours of heavy rains.