Flash flood claims one casualty in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 January) — A woman farmer in San Fernando, Bukidnon who was carried away by flash flood while trying to cross the town’s Tigua River around 4:30pm Monday was found dead in Maramag town Tuesday.

Ai-ai Balode, 22, was from Sitio Balacayo, Barangay Namnam, Rou Francis Piscos, San Fernando Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) coordinator told MindaNews via telephone.

The municipal DRRMO of Maramag said Balode was found dead in the man-made lake in Barangay Tubigon that draws water from the Pulangi River for the National Power Corporation’s hydroelectric power plant.

She already had no clothes on when found and brought to neighboring Barangay Panadtalan for identification.

Ma. Leah Barquez, coordinator of the Provincial DRRMO said Tuesday that a team from San Fernando DRRMO brought a relative to confirm if it was indeed Balode’s body.

Balode and her family were crossing the river on their way home when the flash flood occurred.

But her three children, the youngest about two years old, were all safe as her husband made them cross the river first while the water was still three to four feet deep.

When he returned to fetch his wife, the water was already chest-high. He saw the water carry away his wife who was wearing a black jacket.

Piscos said the incident happened shortly after a downpour Monday. He added that search and retrieval operation was still ongoing.

He said the rest of the town’s 24 barangays experienced heavy rains but there were no reports of untoward incidents.

Barquez said the rest of Bukidnon was safe from the heavy rains that lasted from late afternoon Monday to dawn Tuesday.

She noted however that 16 families were evacuated to the barangay hall in Maluko, Manolo Fortich town as a preemptive move because their area was identified as landslide prone.

She noted that the families lived along a diversion road in the area.

In Valencia City, a total of 13 families from the lower portion of Barangay Catumbalon were also evacuated as the water level of the Pulangi River started to rise.

As of 8a.m. Tuesday, Barquez said water level was still around seven feet, just short of two feet which is identified as the critical point that requires forced evacuation.

The residents stayed at the covered court of the village as authorities continued monitoring the water level.

The evacuation alarm was also initiated in nearby Barangay San Isidro but was stopped as the water level started to subside.

In Malaybalay City, DRRMO personnel expressed relief that the water level had subsided in key riverside points. The water level in Sawaga River at the diversion road in Barangay Sumpong measured two meters as of 5p.m. Monday but did not go higher.

Jesusa Aquino of the City DRRMO said they were monitoring the frequently flooded areas of Panamucan, Barangay San Jose and Bongbongon, Barangay Sumpong.

She said that at around 5:25p.m. Monday, Panamucan purok chair Romeo Abellanosa told the CDRRMO that the water level in a creek rose due to heavy rain.

She said they were placed on alert but Abellanosa later called up to report that the water had subsided.

The City DRRMO received the same report from Bongbongon, but the water level there subsided around 7p.m.

There were no reports of landslides as of Tuesday morning from the rest of Malaybalay’s 46 barangays, except in Apo Macote where a small slip was reported, Aquino added. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)