COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/30 July) – The local governments of Cotabato City and Maguindanao province have placed their areas under a state of calamity since Monday due to floods spawned by heavy rains the past three days.
The Provincial Social and Welfare and Development Office of Maguindanao reported that 45,594 families from 155 villages in 18 towns have been affected by the floods.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said relief assistance will reach the flood victims anytime today or Wednesday.
Dozens of schools, health centers, goverment structures and mosques have been flooded.
In Mother Kabuntalan town, waist-deep floodwater has entered the house of Saimona Buisan and could go higher if the rains did not stop.
All of the 17 villages in her town were already submerged in water. The place lies near the Liguasan Marsh.
Since last week, Buisan said, water that overflowed from major streams have not only damaged their farms but also affected their fishing activity.
She said that with the water getting deeper it has become hard for them to catch the volume of fish that they would usually sell.
“It’s getting harder for us who observe fasting since we dont have enough to prepare for our buka (break of fasting)”, she added.
In Cotabato City, at least 25 of its 37 barangays were submerged in flood.
A major bridge connecting the place to Davao City that was undergoing repair has collapsed.
On Monday, school officials and the city government suspended classes at the elementary and high school levels followed by the declaration of a state of calamity.
Eighteen families from two villages were rescued as the water level at the Rio Grande de Mindanao rose.
Among the worst hit areas is Notre Dame University and Notre Dame Avenue, the main street used by students where floodwater has reached knee-deep.
Meanwhile, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao(ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman has urged for “bayanihan” (community spirit) to lessen, if not avoid, casualties during the calamity.
Aside from giving relief items, the regional government also secured medicines, treated mosquito nets, guava soap against skin diseases and water treatment solubles.
“You cannot assure the source of water during floods, so it’s better they use our hypochlorite soak only for 24 hours before amoeba or cholera strikes,” regional health chief Dr. Kadil Sinolinding said.
The newly launched ARMM-HEART ( Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team) led visitations and relief and medical missions to flood victims in Sultan Kudarat and Mother Kabuntalan towns.
ARMM-HEART is an emergency rapid response team working 24/7 to help mitigate the impact of both natural and manmade disasters in the region. They have received support from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, civil society groups and government agencies. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)