Thousands affected by floods in Maguindanao, North Cotabato

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/05 August) – Floods due to heavy monsoon rains in Maguindanao and surrounding provinces have affected at least 2,000 families or 6,000 persons in several towns of Maguindanao, disaster officials said Wednesday.

Jo Henry, of the Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART), however said there were no reports of evacuation.

HEART-ARMM has been placed on alert since Monday night as light to moderate rain continued due to inclement weather.

Disaster officials were closely watching and monitoring at least 17 low-lying municipalities of Maguindanao. The province has 36 towns.

“These areas are perennial flood-prone communities in Maguinanao,” Henry said.

She added the towns of Sultan Mastura, Datu Montawal, Mother Kabuntalan, Northern Kabuntalan, Pagalungan, Montawal, Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Shariff Saydona, Mamasapano and Rajah Buayan were already flooded.

She said ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman had told them to aim for “zero casualty”.

Lynette Estandarte, Maguindanao’s health focal person on Wednesday said 200 bags of rice were ready for distribution.

Aside from health personnel, social welfare and engineering teams were on standby for deployment to areas where they may be needed.

In North Cotabato, continuous rains flooded 16 barangays in Pikit town affecting close to 7,000 families, according to the report by Tahera Kalantungan, the town’s disaster response chief.

The continuous rains also caused landslides along a road leading to Mt. Apo High School in Barangay Sibawan, Kidapawan City, according to teacher Ely Dulay.

“It has been raining here for almost a week,” Dulay said, adding three landslides were reported along the road leading to elementary and high schools in Sibawan.

The rivers originating from Mt. Apo were monitored to have turned murky.

He said they might suspend classes if the same situation persisted once typhoon Hannah entered the country.

In Kabacan town on Tuesday, flood waters covered Villanueva Street.

Low-lying communities in Midsayap town were also flooded with water reaching waist-high.

The North Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council had been placed on red alert status. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)