COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 28 October) – At least 13 people were confirmed dead as landslides and severe flooding caused by Typhoon Paeng hit parts of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, Cotabato City and other parts of Southwestern Mindanao since Thursday evening.
Ten of the casualties due to landslides came from Datu Blah Sinsuat town and three others from Datu Odin Sinsuat town, both in Maguindanao del Norte, according to lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, head of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (BARMM-READi).
Heavy rains spawned by the typhoon flooded Cotabato City and at least five localities in Maguindanao, with officials ordering the suspension of work and classes in the affected areas.
Bangsamoro Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua ordered the suspension of work in offices under the Bangsamoro government in Cotabato City and other affected areas in the region.
For the private sector, Macacua highly recommended the suspension of work, but left the decision to the discretion of the management.
Mayor Mohammad Ali “Bruce” Matabalao of Cotabato City, the seat of BARMM government and a chartered city of Maguindanao, also ordered the suspension of work and classes in all levels in the city due to massive flooding.
“Cotabato City is in an emergency situation because of the flooding. Most of us are affected. We need the help of each other,” he posted on his Facebook wall.
He said in another post that 67,596 households in 37 barangays of the city were affected by the flood.
Norhashim Sinarimbo, executive assistant at BARMM-READi, said that flooding also occurred in the towns of North Upi, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Datu Odin Sinsuat and Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao del Norte and South Upi in Maguindanao del Sur.
The relief and rescue teams of BARMM READi already responded to the affected areas, he said in a phone interview.
Earlier on Friday, residents of Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat asked for emergency rescue after floodwaters damaged a bridge, disconnecting them from the town proper.
Naguib Sinarimbo said teams from the Department of Public Works and Highways were deployed for clearing operations to facilitate rescue work.
He said rescue teams aboard rubber boats were deployed to Sultan Kudarat town and Cotabato City.
He said their priority is to rescue residents and bring food to the evacuees, adding that some sources of water supply in Upi were also damaged.
The town’s evacuation center was flooded with breast-deep water, he added.
BARMM-READi requested air assets from the 6th Infantry Division for surveillance purposes but its choppers were in Zambonga City as of Friday.
In South Cotabato, the towns of Lake Sebu and Tantangan also suspended classes in private and public schools due to the geohazard advisory for Typhoon Paeng. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews with a report from Bong S. Sarmiento)