3 dead, 1 missing in Mindanao floods

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three people had been reported killed while another one went missing as floods and slides took place in at least three Mindanao regions following intermittent rains since July 21, authorities said.

More and more areas were also declared under a state of calamity as the number of affected people now swelled to nearly 500,000 in Western Mindanao, Central Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao even as the rains continued as of Monday, according to figures culled from various offices and aid agencies there.

The latest fatality was identified as Tasvia Sadatan, 38, of Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte.

Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao police said in Gutalac alone, landslides and floods had affected four villages and left more than a dozen houses destroyed.

“One person was confirmed dead and another one, identified as Rulina Sumimba, 40, is still missing,” Huesca said.

A similar situation also took place in this city, which led to the deaths of at least two children in Barangay Limpapa on Saturday.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar told the Inquirer that Ayen Kaluoyan, 6, and his brother, Agustin, 13, were trapped inside their house built below the bridge in Sitio Kumati when a large boulder rolled into it as rains lashed the city.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said landslides had also been reported in the villages of Curuan and Divisoria and damaged around 70 houses.

A footbridge in Barangay Maasin here was also destroyed by huge waves while in Barangay Tugbungan, a riprap also collapsed.

“The days of heavy rains softened the soil,” Climaco-Salazar said as she explained the slides.

The Philippine Coast Guard said the persistent bad weather condition had forced it to suspend the sailing of sea vessels from this city to Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.

Lt. Junior Grade Jomark Anggue, Coast Guard Zamboanga District Station commander, said sea vessels had been disallowed since Sunday to set off to their destinations as authorities try to minimize casualties.

The heavy rains in the last few days have resulted in the flooding of 20 villages in the town of Tulunan, North Cotabato, prompting the town’s council to place it under a state of calamity.

Jeric Ardina, chief of the Tulunan Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO), said the floods also destroyed some 64 hectares of rice fields and corn lands and the damage was estimated at P1 million.

“Most of the crops were damaged during the flash floods,” Ardina said.

Mayor Lani Candolada said the declaration of a state of calamity will pave the way for the utilization of the town’s calamity fund so affected residents could be provided immediate assistance.

Candolada said the office of the municipal agriculturist has already started distributing seedlings to at least 500 farmers so they could restart their livelihood.

Tulunan was the latest to be placed under a state of calamity after the nearby province of Maguindanao, where nearly 300,000 people had also been displaced.

Earlier, Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. also declared a state of calamity in the city following the floods that submerged 26 of the city’s 37 villages and the displacement of some 100,000 people. With reports from Charlies Señase and Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao

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