COTABATO CITY, July 26 – With 25 of 37 villages under water affecting about 100,000 residents, the local government today placed the entire city under state of calamity.
Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said the city council has passed a resolution putting the city under calamity to allow the ease release of funds needed in helping thousands of affected residents.
The flood water slowly rose when torrential rains hit southern Mindanao last week.
It continued to rise since the other parts of Mindanao continue to experience rains brought by inter-tropical convergence zone and water cascaded downstream via the heavily silted Maguindanao marshland.
Affected families, some moved to evacuation areas while others in relatives’ homes, have been provided with emergency food packs and drinking water.
The city, home to about 300,000 inhabitants, has served as catch basin of flood waters from the marshland before go to the seas. During high tide, water rises further, inundating more communities in the city.
When rising water was noticed last week, Mayor Sayadi immediately directed all village chairperson, activates the barangay risk reduction and management council and ordered all village officials to ensure nobody is harmed due to floods.
She also directed the city disaster risk reduction and management council to immediately disperse ready to eat food when local residents noticed the water rising fast and that they have to move.
”We waste no time and our disaster workers immediately hauled the residents to safer grounds,” she told repoters.
In Maguindanao, floods continue to submerged 18 towns of 36 municipalities and the provincial relief unit intensified its relief operations to affected families.
Lynette Estandarte, Maguindanao provincial budget officer, said heavily flood towns include Northern Kabuntalan and Sultan sa Barongis, both situated beside the Liguasan Marsh.
Also were the towns of Raja Buayan, Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Mamasapano, Mangudadatu, Paglat, Datu Salibo, Shariff Saydona, Datu Piang, Pagalungan, Montawal, SK Pendatun, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Talitay, Sultan Mastura and Sultan Kudarat.
Over-all, the number of affected villages was placed at 220 affecting about 120,000 residents.
Mangudadatu Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu has asked the Mindanao Development Agency (MinDA), Malacañang’s development arm in Mindanao which had taken over the responsibilities of the Mindanao River Basin Task Force (MRBTF) to commence dredging as soon as possible.
Mangudadatu said dredging the marshland would surely prevent floods from hitting low-lying communities and saving peoples’ lives and agricultural crops.