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Cotabato town placed under state of calamity due to flooding

By: Williamor A. Magbanua - Inquirer Mindanao | June 27,2023 - 08:03 PM

16K families displaced by floods in Mindanao

SAFE STORAGE Rice and corn farmers prepare to haul agricultural supplies to safer grounds as floodwater at Barangay Aringay in Kabacan, Cotabato, submerged several villages on Wednesday. —PHOTO COURTESY OF BOMBO MAMACAN

KIDAPAWAN CITY — The local government has placed Kabacan town in Cotabato province under a state of calamity as 10 of its 24 villages were flooded after the Kabacan river swelled due to torrential rains last week.

Vice Mayor Herlo Guzman, who presided over the Sangguniang Bayan of Kabacan, said the majority of the council members approved the declaration of a state of calamity so funds could be released immediately  to help affected residents.

Guzman said they planned to tap at least P1.7 million from five per cent of the town’s Quick Response Funds to buy more food packs and tarpaulins for more than 5,000 displaced families.

“Some of the affected villages still have water. That’s why there are evacuees who prefer to still stay at our evacuation sites, while the rest took refuge in the houses of their relatives,” Guzman said.

The heavy downpour brought about by the Intertropical Convergence Zone submerged the villages of Aringay, Kayaga, Salapungan, Poblacion, Malanduage, Bangilan, Bannawag, Kilagasan, Cuyapon, and Magatos in flood waters after the Kabacan river overflowed.

“Even if we don’t experience rain, the water released by the dam in Bukidnon contributes to the swelling of rivers in our area, especially as we serve as catch basins of the excess water,” Guzman explained.

The flooding also brought about untold damage to agriculture as vast areas in Kayaga and Cuyapon, some with newly planted rice, were under water.

Guzman said the municipal agriculture office was trying to validate the exact number of farmers and areas affected.

“We will also extend assistance to our farmers once we have their names. The assistance will depend on the extent of damage to their crops,” Guzman said.

In nearby Datu Montawal and Pagalungan towns of Maguindanao del Sur, some residents stayed along the highway while waiting for the flood to subside.

Balumol Kadiding, the municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer of Datu Montawal, said some residents were staying in makeshift structures along the Mindanao-Cotabato highway hoping to get assistance from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

But he denied reports that some evacuees were asking for alms from commuters and motorists traversing the highway.

Kadiding said some of the 6,000 families affected by the floods had returned home while others continued to stay in the town’s evacuation sites, waiting for the flood to subside.

The whole of Datu Montawal, with 11 villages, was also flooded last week, while nine of the 12 villages of nearby Pagalungan town, were also inundated, affecting more than 9,000 families, their disaster official reported.


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TAGS: Cotabato, displaced, families, flooding, food packs, state of calamity

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