Maguindanao floods affect 24,951 residents in 10 towns

COTABATO CITY — Rains brought by Typhoon Karen have submerged 81 barangays in 10 towns in Maguindanao province in floodwaters, affecting 24,951 residents, a disaster official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has said.

Myrna Jo Henry, speaking for the Humanitarian Emergency Response Action Team (HEART) of the ARMM, identified the flooded areas as Ampatuan, Datu Salibo, Sultan sa Barongis, Rajah Buayan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Northern Kabuntalan, Datu Saydona Mustapha, Datu Montawal, Pagalungan and Sultan Mastura.

These towns are situated beside the 220,000-hectare Liguasan marshland that serves as a catch-basin for river water from South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.

Hardest hit was the town of Sultan Mastura with floodwaters reaching as high as 6 ft. after the Simuay River flood control project collapsed on Thursday night, affecting more than 2,000 families.

Henry said relief assistance have been extended by HEART to affected families, many of whom opted to stay home than move to safer grounds.

“They have been used to flooding. They know floodwaters will eventually subside,” Henry said, adding that some were staying in temporary evacuation centers in Sultan Mastura’s public schools.

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said the regional disaster office has ample stocks of ready-to-eat food and other emergency and disaster provisions.

“The local government is the first responder. HEART will only provide additional assistance and course of action,” Hataman said.

The governor has appealed to residents near the riverbanks and landslide-prone areas to quickly evacuate during continuous rains. PNA-