43 families evacuated in Sarangani floods

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 March) – At least 43 families were forcibly evacuated in Maitum and Kiamba towns in Sarangani Province after two major rivers overflowed and triggered flashfloods at the height of heavy rains early Thursday.

Robert Lubonting, operations section chief of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said the “pre-emptive evacuations” were implemented due to heavy flooding in communities near the banks of the Kalaong River in Maitum and Tual River in Kiamba.

Affected were 30 families at the barangay proper of Kalaong, Maitum and 13 in Sitio Tual of Poblacion, Kiamba, he said.

Citing reports from the municipal DRRM offices of Maitum and Kiamba, he said moderate rains were initially monitored in the area around 9 p.m. Wednesday but turned heavy two hours later.

At 2:22 a.m., he said the Kalaong River started to swell, prompting the local government to evacuate the affected residents by 3 a.m.

Lubonting said the Tual River overflowed almost at the same time and triggered the evacuations.

“But as of the moment (9:30 am), the floods have already subsided and the evacuees have started to return home. The situation in the affected areas are getting back to normal,” he said on the phone.

The official said heavy flooding was also reported in Purok Bugo, Malalag in Poblacion, Maitum.

He said no evacuations were reported but seven families were affected by the flood, which was mainly caused by the lack of drainage.

At the height of the heavy rains, he said the power systems in the two municipalities tripped off and have not yet been restored.

He said South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative personnel are presently working to restore power there.

Lubonting said the MDRRMOs of Maitum and Kiamba have deployed their damage assessment and needs analysis (DANA) teams to check for possible damage to properties and infrastructure in the affected areas. 

Aside from the two municipalities, he said there were no reported flooding and landslides in other parts of the province, which was placed under orange level alert on Thursday morning by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

PAGASA said the rains were due to the tail-end of a cold front affecting the eastern section of Visayas and Mindanao.

Lubonting said sporadic heavy rains were monitored in Alabel town but the water levels at the critical Maribulan and Buayan rivers remain normal at this time.

He said the PDRRMO has deployed heavy equipment to conduct regular dredging activities in the two rivers. (MindaNews)