Hundreds displaced by floods in Mindanao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Even before Tropical Depression ‘‘Crising’’ could make landfall, hundreds of families all over Mindanao had already been displaced by flashfloods brought by non-stop heavy rain since Monday.
In Baganga, Davao Oriental, residents of the low-lying village of Saoquegue were evacuated to higher and safer ground after a river overflowed its banks following continuous rain since Monday night.
Father Darwey Clark, parish priest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Baganga, said some of the evacuees were taken to the village center. In some areas in Saoquegue, Clark said, the flood was neck-deep.
Clark said in a telephone interview that a river in the town of Caraga had also overflowed, rendering a bridge impassable.
In Tarragona town, also in Davao Oriental, at least three families were rescued when their homes in the village of Kabagayan were submerged in water from the swollen Bagwan River.
Noraflor Lague, social welfare officer of Tarragona, said at least four low-lying barangays were also flooded.
Lague said heavy rain since Monday resulted in the swelling of rivers in the town.
In Sapad in Lanao del Norte, at least 40 families were evacuated to higher ground when a river overflowed, submerging homes Tuesday morning, said Annabel Mendez, the provincial social welfare officer.
The weather bureau reported that ‘‘Crising’’ made landfall on the southern tip of Davao del Sur at around 1 p.m.
Residents of Davao del Sur said, however, they experienced only light to moderate rain at that time.
General Santos City, which is near the southern tip of Davao del Sur, also did not experience any strong wind or heavy rain Tuesday afternoon.
In Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley, local authorities on Tuesday urged residents of flood-prone areas to move to safer ground as “Crising” approached.
Gov. Arturo Uy ordered the preemptive evacuation of hundreds of families in Compostela and New Bataan towns in Compostela Valley as the province braced for yet another storm in the wake of last December’s devastating Typhoon ‘‘Pablo’’.
Raul Villocino, provincial disaster officer, said local disaster teams were put on standby and rubber boats and other rescue equipment dispatched to Compostela town.
The town, one of those badly hit by ‘‘Pablo’’, was also submerged in floods that affected a large area in southern Mindanao late last month.
In nearby New Bataan, the municipality worst-hit by ‘‘Pablo’’, families were again forced to flee to safer ground.
Classes in the elementary level were also suspended in many areas in Compostela Valley, according to officials.
The province of Davao del Norte also breaced for the storm.
Davao del Norte, including the Island Garden City of Samal, Compostela Valley and 17 other areas in Mindanao were under Storm Signal No. 1, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Romulo Tagalo, assistant provincial administrator of Davao del Norte, said pre-emptive evacuations were ordered in Florida village, in Kapalong town, one of the municipalities affected by last January’s flooding.
In Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte called off classes from pre-school to high school on Tuesday.
Some residents along the Davao River also evacuated to higher ground when it overflowed.
(Reports from Nico Alconaba, Germelina Lacorte, Frinston L. Lim, Richel V. Umel, Inquirer Mindanao )