Boy killed, dozens displaced in floods in Polomolok, GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 June) — A two year-old boy was killed while 26 families have evacuated as flashfloods ravaged anew several villages in this city and nearby Polomolok town in South Cotabato in the last two days.

Rodelen Atimonan, Polomolok Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) head, said Friday the floods hit portions of barangays Sumbakil and Magsaysay on Wednesday afternoon following hours of heavy rains.

He said another flashflood was reported in Barangay Klinan 6 on Thursday after the Klinan River swelled anew at the height of the heavy rains.

In Barangay Sumbakil, Atimonan said a boy identified as Morsad Bayao drowned and eventually died after being trapped for about an hour in a flooded drainage canal in Purok 6 late Wednesday afternoon.

Atimonan said the victim and an elder brother were crossing the drainage canal when they were carried away by rushing floodwaters.

In Barangay Magsaysay, he said 14 families settled at the riverside community of Purok Vicente 10 were evacuated by the barangay council after flashfloods swept the area.

A house was destroyed after it was carried away by the floodwaters, which also triggered landslides at a portion of the riverbank in the area.

The evacuees are temporarily living in tents provided by the local government at the gymnasium of Barangay Magsaysay.

Atimonan said they immediately declared the area as a danger zone and off-limits to housing and other related structures.

“We’re now looking for a relocation site for the evacuees as we will no longer be allowing them to return to the area,” he said in a radio interview.

He said the municipal government and the provincial government of South Cotabato, through its Provincial DRRM Office, delivered food and other relief items on Thursday to address the needs of the evacuees.

Meantime, in this city, some 12 families situated near the banks of the Silway River in Barangay Labangal also evacuated on Wednesday evening due to flashfloods in the area.

Lorelei Pacquiao, Labangal barangay chair, said the river’s waters swelled to portions of a residential community in Purok Matinabangon following the heavy rains on Wednesday afternoon.

She said a house owned by the family of Lorena Sisneros was destroyed after being carried away by the floodwaters.

Pacquiao said some of the evacuees are currently settled at the barangay gymnasium while the others opted to stay with their relatives.

Dr. Agripino Dacera Jr., City DRRM Office head, said they delivered food and other relief assistance on Thursday to the evacuees and other affected residents.

He said City Mayor Ronnel Rivera immediately mobilized the City Engineer’s Office to conduct emergency rechanneling in portions of the Silway River.

“After this (rechanneling), we will be placing new gabion dikes along the riverbanks to properly control the flow of its waters,” he said.

Hundreds of families that were situated in communities near the Silway River were forced to evacuate several times in the last three years due to the swelling of the river’s waters.

Several portions of the dike along the Silway River had suffered breaches and eventually collapsed following heavy rains in the area.

Silway River, which flows to Sarangani Bay, is the main outlet of several river-tributaries from the upland areas in nearby South Cotabato province. (MindaNews)