Floods affect 16, 145 families in parts of ARMM

Myrna Jocelyn Henry, speaking for Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said that floods have affected 16,145 families in eight municipalities of Lanao del Sur and more than 8,000 families in two Maguindanao flood-prone towns.

Henry said water level started to rise in 11 of 12 villages of Datu Montawal since Wednesday affecting 2,658 families while 4,290 families were displaced by floods in Pagalungan town’s four villages.

Henry said about 2,000 families in Datu Montawal were moved to the sides of national highway in Barangay Bulit and Pagagawan after water level rose neck-high Thursday evening.

Some families refused to leave homes, saying the water level may recede anyway when the rain stops.

“We prefer to stay home, we have been in this situation in the past,” said Sulambai Salman, a resident of Barangay Kudal, Pagalungan, Maguindanao. “It would be a hassle for us to bring out our valuables then we return the next day, we just wait for the water to recede may be tomorrow or the next day,” Salman, whose house is beside the elevated national highway,” said.

Floodwaters beside the national highway linking Maguindanao and North Cotabato, particularly between Datu Montawal and Kabacan, reached the main highway, submerging communities near the Malitubog and Maridagao rivers in North Cotabato.

Displaced families, numbering about 6,000, have sought refuge at the roadside with their valuables, watching helplessly as flood inundated their homes.

North Cotabato disaster workers and soldiers hauled residents trapped in their houses in Barangay Malabuaya, Kabacan to safer grounds.

“The water suddenly rose, mahina lang man ang ulan kahapon (rain wasn’t even heavy at that time),” said one of the affected residents.

Soldiers and rescue workers from the Office of Civil Defense in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OCD-ARMM) and the Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART-ARMM) meanwhile rescued trapped residents in Barangay Butig, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao on Friday night, according to Myrna Jo Henry of HEART-ARMM.

“About 10 families were rescued from Sitio Baytunina as of last night,” she said.