Over 300 flee as rivers swell in Bukidnon; more evacuations set as Seniang sweeps N. Mindanao

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/29 December) – Over 300 individuals from at least six villages in Bukidnon have fled as water levels in rivers and streams connected to the Pulangi River started to rise as tropical storm Seniang continued to dump heavy rains across the province, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said at noon Monday.

Ma. Leah Barquez, focal person at the Bukidnon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Valencia City accounted for most of the evacuees with 275 individuals or 34 families.

She said these families left their homes in response to orders for a preemptive evacuation by the local DRRMCs.

The PDRRMC reported that in Valencia, 150 individuals came from Barangay Batangan, 20 families or around 100 persons from Barangay Catumbalon, 12 families or around 60 persons from Sitio Hinauan, Purok 5 in Barangay Poblacion, and two families or 10 persons from Barangay Sugod. These villages are along the Pulangi River.

In Cabanglasan, the Municipal DRRMC said the water level in Mandahican River has risen and threatened some areas in Barangay Iba. The council had scheduled a preemptive evacuation of at least 196 families in a cluster of villages around 3p.m. today.

In Malitbog, the MDRRMC reported a landslide past 8a.m. Sunday that partially destroyed a house in Barangay Sumalsag. The incident prompted a preemptive evacuation of 21 families in Barangays Sumalsag and Patpat.

In Sumilao, the MDRRMC also reported a landslide early Monday morning in Damay, Barangay San Vicente, along the Sayre Highway. But Barquez pointed out that the highway had been cleared as of 9:45a.m. Monday.

In various points, the water levels have doubled as monitored by stream gauges provided by Project Noah of the Department of Science and Technology.

Water level in Lumbayao Bridge over Pulangi River in Valencia rose from 1.22 meters as of 10:40 a.m. Sunday to 2.35 meters as of the same time Monday.

In downtown Valencia, water rose from 10.33 meters to 13.11 meters during the same time frame as monitored from Valencia City Bridge near Batangan.

In Malaybalay City, water level also increased from 0.83 meters as of 10:50a.m. Sunday to 1.207 meters by 10:40a.m. Monday.

In Libona town, water level in Bubunawan River, which flows into Cagayan River, increased from 4.7 meters to 6.2 meters within the same time frame.

In Baungon town, water level also increased in Kabula Bridge, also over Bubunawan River, from 45.75 meters to 47 meters as of 11a.m. Monday.

As of 1p.m. the PDRRMC was yet to receive reports from the DRRMCs of Malaybalay and other towns of Bukidnon.

The PDRRMC said it was on a 24/7 alert status for Seniang.  (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)