KABACAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews/21 January) — Nearly 2,000 families have sought refuge on higher ground due to flooding since Thursday, the local disaster office reported.
David Don Saure, head of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office, disclosed that in their initial validation, at least 1,923 families from five low-lying barangays were displaced when the nearby Pulangi River swelled and overflowed on Thursday evening.
Heavy rains in the neighboring province of Bukidnon triggered the swelling of the Pulangi River.
The affected barangays are Buluan, Kayaga, Magatos, Nangaan and Simone. Of the total number of affected families, 779 are from Kayaga.
Six hundred famlies were displaced in barngay Magatos, 200 in Buluan, 150 in Nangaan and 85 in Simone.
Kabacan information officer Sarrah Jane Guerrero said the local government has provided tents for temporary shelter and food aid to the displaced families.
Guerrero said validation is still ongoing in Barangay Tamped.
Kayaga Kagawad Mohjid Macalipat said this is the worst flood to have hit their village.
“In the past, the floodwaters would recede in less than 24 hours. But this time, it has been three days already and the floodwater is still there,” Macalipat said in an interview.
He added that on Thursday morning, the MDRRMO warned them that the Pulangi River may swell due to heavy rains in Bukidnon.
Barangay officials ordered preemptive evacuation before dark on the same day. “Many refused to leave their homes because they believe that it would not be worse.”
Macalipat bared that the floodwaters reached chest-deep by midnight.
In the past, he added, the floodwater would only be waist-deep.
Macalipat said some of the farmers had just planted rice seedlings that may not survive if the flood does not subside soon. (MindaNews)