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Cold front rains, floods add to misery ‘Pablo’ left

HUNDREDS of families in Matina, Davao City, are moved to safer ground by the local police at the height of flooding in the district. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

TAGUM CITY—Human suffering continues to unfold in Southern Mindanao, where areas that have yet to recover from the devastation wrought on them by Typhoon “Pablo” in December have been pummeled by relentless rains and floods.

The rain-drenched areas got a brief respite yesterday when the rains stopped, but officials continued to brace for more rains in the coming days.

The immediate effect of the new floods is a halt in the distribution of relief goods to thousands of survivors of Pablo, who are now relying on aid to survive day-to-day after the storm took away not only their homes but also their sources of livelihood.

In Compostela Valley alone, where the storm killed hundreds of people, officials are bracing for a new wave of evacuation as a result of the new floods, wondering where to put the new evacuees as public buildings are already filled with people displaced by Pablo.

The new floods, according to provincial social welfare officer Josephine Franco, have made more roads impassable and distribution of relief goods to Pablo survivors difficult, if not impossible.

The latest floods, according to provincial disaster officer Raul Villocino, drove 200 families out of their homes in towns that have suffered from Pablo’s onslaught—New Bataan, Compostela, Montevista and Monkayo.

In Davao del Norte, more than 58,000 people are still huddled in evacuation centers even as disaster officials brace for new floods as the rains continued.

In Davao Oriental, a province hit hard by Pablo, new floods are sweeping across towns that have been left in ruins by Pablo—Cateel, Boston and Baganga.

New floods have destroyed more roads and bridges that linked towns to supply lines of aid. Aid workers have to transport relief goods by boats. Many other volunteers travel for at least eight hours to reach those in need.

Davao City, one of the first local governments to send help to Pablo survivors, is itself grappling with evacuations now as floods swept across several of its villages as a result of relentless rains.

Many public and private schools in the city canceled classes because of the floods.

In Davao del Norte, the body of Glen Custodio, 36, had been fished out of floodwaters in the village of San Miguel several hours after he was electrocuted. The flooding also killed Ramon Ampong, 63, who was carried away as he tried to cross a river in Asuncion town on Sunday. Frinston Lim, Germelina Lacorte and Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao

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Tags: Cold Front , disaster , floods , Pablo , Rain , Regions , Weather

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