25K rescued from Maguindanao flood

Inquirer.net June 29,2015 - 11:23 AM

Health workers in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao wait for the flood water to recede in order to attend to the needs of displaced families.(INQUIRER PHOTO)

Health workers in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao wait for the flood water to recede in order to attend to the needs of displaced families.(INQUIRER PHOTO)

Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat– At least 25,000 persons in 15 villages of Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao province have been displaced by floods, which in some areas were as bad as neck deep, officials said.

Sultan sa Barongis Mayor Ramdatu Angas said the local government declared a state of calamity in the entire town as flood water from the Ala River has been rising due to the torrential rain in the mountains of Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.

Rasol Angas, a resident of Barangay Barurao, one of the hardest-hit villages, said the characteristics of flood water remained unpredictable as it receded and suddenly rose although Maguindanao experienced no rain.

“It could be raining up there in the mountains of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat,” he said, pointing at Daguma ranges south of Sultan Kudarat province.

Zenaida Sandig, 28, a resident of Barangay Paidung, said the water level in her village was at its highest late Saturday afternoon, reaching as high as five feet.

Sultan sa Barongis, a town situated in the borders of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, is at the direct path of Ala river, a major tributary emanating from South Cotabato.

“Floods here come and go but this is the worst so far,” Mayor Angas told reporters.

“We are at the forefront of the flood catch basin,” he added.

Aside from Sultan sa Barongis, also flooded were the towns of Datu Paglas, Mangudadatun, Datu Paglas, Pandag, Paglat, Rajah Buayan, Buluan and Datu Salibo.

It was the third calamity to hit Maguindanao province this year.

In late January, Maguindanao was hit by man-made calamities when thousands had to be evacuated when military forces pursued members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups.  This was followed by the five-month dry spell.

“We can still handle this,” Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said of the floods that hit nine of Maguindanao’s 36 towns.

He said the province has enough calamity fund to use until year end.

But the governor admitted the situation has become “very difficult for our people” because of the Ramadan when Muslims abstain from food and water at day time.

He alerted local executives of towns around the Maguindanao marshland of possible sudden rise of water as unfavorable weather continue in nearby provinces.

Mayor Angas blamed a flood control dike constructed by a banana plantation company.

He said the firm put up a dike to save its farm site but the flood water from Ala river was diverted to his town.

Last week, four persons were killed in separate landslides triggered by moderate to heavy downpour in South Cotabato, Sarangani and Koronadal City./Inquirer

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