80 children rescued from flood in Davao del Norte

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TAGUM CITY, Philippines—At least 80 children from this city were rescued after being trapped in the floods that inundated parts of the town of  Kapalong in Davao del Norte where they were attending a youth camp on Tuesday, Kapalong Mayor Edgardo Timbol said.

Timbol said the children were  participating in a youth camp in Barangay Florida when the floods struck at  2 a.m.

“The children are now safe. They were to be sent home to Tagum City,” Timbol told the Inquirer by phone.

Kapalong was among several Davao del Norte towns inundated by floods of up to four feet in some areas that were triggered by a low-pressure area.

In Barangay Florida alone, four houses were destroyed as the Saug, Ilog and Libuganon rivers overflowed, Timbol said.

About 300 families were evacuated and are now temporarily staying at the Kapalong municipal gym, he said.

Eric Rosillo of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee said a total of 1,762 families had been evacuated provincewide due to the floods.

Rosillo said no flood casualty has been reported so far although some road networks were inaccessible for several hours due to the floods.

In Bukidnon, some 400 families were also assisted in their evacuation by Valencia City authorities after the Pulangui River swelled and submerged several villages on Tuesday, said Arsenio Alagenio of the Bukidnon disaster mitigation council.

Alagenio said some residents living along the swollen river were initially trapped when the water level suddenly rose but they were rescued by elements of the Philippine Air Force.

In Cotabato City, hundreds of residents of Punol Island,  a sandbar, had also been evacuated following the swelling of the Pulangui River.

The Pulangui River is part of the system that feeds water to the Rio Grande de Mindanao, which empties into the sea  in Cotabato City.

Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. said aside from Punol residents, families living in the low-lying villages of Poblacion 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 were also evacuated.

The evacuees were temporarily housed at the Cotabato City Central Elementary School and at the Mega Market area.

“This is disaster preparedness in case the floodwaters come at night. We don’t want the experience of our neighbors in Cagayan (de Oro) and Iligan repeated because they were caught flat-footed,” said Sam Mundas, the city’s action officer.

In Magpet, North Cotabato, Mayor Efren Piñol also ordered local officials to activate their disaster response teams in anticipation of landslides due to the abnormal weather pattern.

Piñol said the villages of Manobisa, Imamaling, Ilian, Magcaalam, Bongolanon, Bantac, Pangao-an, Sallab and Doles had been identified landslide-prone areas.

He said residents living near creeks had also been warned of possible floods because of the torrential rains. Reports from Frinston Lim, Cai Panlilio, Charlie Señase and Williamor Magbanua, Inquirer Mindanao

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