1 killed, bridge collapses as floods, landslides hit South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 May) – A person was confirmed dead while a major bridge and several other structures were damaged as floods and landslides triggered by intermittent rains since Tuesday hit parts of South Cotabato province.

Initial reports from the South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said the prolonged rains spawned by the Intertropical Convergence Zone caused floods along the critical Allah River in the province’s upper valley area.

Allah River. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

It affected barangays traversed by the river in the municipalities of Lake Sebu, Tboli, Surallah and Sto. Niño.

Leonardo Ballon, head of the Surallah Municipal DRRMO, said a resident of Barangay Moloy identified as Roger Barneso, 44, died after being swept by rushing floodwaters in the Allah River around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

He said the victim, along with his wife and eight-year-old daughter, were crossing the river from Barangay Dajay through a makeshift bridge made of bamboo when the motorcycle they were riding suddenly slipped, causing them to fall into the raging water.

“(Roger) was carried away by strong current and eventually drowned while his wife and daughter managed to reach the riverbank,” he said in an interview over Brigada News FM in Koronadal City.

Ballon said the victim’s remains were retrieved by residents and rescuers around 10 a.m. Wednesday at a portion of the river in Purok Pag-asa, Barangay Bai Saripinang in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.

Due to the floods, he said the makeshift bridge in Barangay Dajay as well as similar structures in portions of the Allah River in Barangays Buenavista and and Centrala  were destroyed.

He said a concrete dike in Barangay Talahik was also damaged and remedial measures are being undertaken to prevent the swelling of floodwaters to nearby communities.

In Lake Sebu, the MDRRMO reported that the approach and slope protection of Maculan bridge in Barangay Lower Maculan collapsed due to the the floods.

The damage rendered the bridge, which connects Lake Sebu to the municipalities of Surallah and Tboli, temporarily impassable, affecting residents of Barangays Halilan, Upper Maculan and Lower Maculan.

Roberto Baggong, MDDRMO head, said a landslide occurred in Sitio Lamsufo, Barangay Poblacion, affecting a portion of the area’s main road.

He said it was caused by the moderate but prolonged rains in the area from 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The affected area was already cleared by members of their Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis team and the assessment is ongoing for possible damages in other barangays, he said.

Rolly Doane Aquino, acting PDRRMO head, said in the local government’s radio program “PDDRMO Hour” they also received reports of flooding incidents in Barangay New Panay, Sto. Niño town and landslides in other areas in Tboli and Lake Sebu.

He said they are currently validating these incidents through the concerned municipalities and barangays.

“We double checking these so we can provide immediate interventions,” he said. (MindaNews)