Flooded SouthCot town declared under state of calamity

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 30 Oct) – The municipal government of Tantangan in South Cotabato placed the entire area on Wednesday under the state of calamity as a result of the severe floods and landslides in the last three days that already destroyed around P28.3-million worth of agricultural crops.

Tantangan Mayor Benjamin Figueroa said the municipal council issued the declaration Wednesday morning to facilitate the immediate release of the necessary funds to address the impact of the calamity, which has so far affected 8 of the town’s 13 barangays.

Citing their initial assessment, the mayor said the floods that hit the area since early Monday has so far destroyed a total of 394 hectares of palay farmlands in six of their barangays.

Hardest hit is Barangay New Iloilo with 120 hectares followed by San Felipe with 97.5 hectares, Maibo with 58.5 hectares, Cabuling with 56 hectares, Tinongcop with 32 hectares and Dumadalig with 30 hectares.

“Most of these crops are in the seeding and vegetative stages but there are some that are almost ready for harvest,” he said.

The mayor said a number of houses and infrastructure facilities also sustained some damages as a result of the floods but their assessment is still ongoing.

He said several road networks leading to some outskirt villages and communities in the area were rendered impassable due to the earlier landslides.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Figueroa said the calamity has affected a total of 600 families or about 2,500 individuals.

But he said such figure does not include the 145 families from Barangay New Iloilo who were evacuated to the municipal gymnasium due to the severe floods.

The evacuation came after waist-deep floodwaters submerged the area as result of hours of heavy rains on Tuesday night.

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

A portion of the national highway in Barangay San Felipe was submerged in knee-deep floodwaters on Monday morning, slowing down the movement of local residents to the polling precincts in Monday’s barangay elections.

With the town now under the state of calamity, Figueroa said they will immediately work on the release of additional funds to augment the needs of the evacuees and other affected families.

He said they are also looking at releasing some funds to facilitate the purchase of palay seeds and other inputs for the affected farmers.

The mayor said they will also re-prop the banks of several rivers and waterways in the area through the establishment of sand bag dikes.

“Our main concern right now is the immediate rehabilitation and reopening of the roads that were flooded and affected by the landslides,” he added.