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Flooding worsens woes of conflict-stricken Zamboanga residents

/ 06:24 PM October 08, 2013

Flooding affects Zamboanga conflict evacuees at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Grandstand. Photo courtesy of Sarah Lizette

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—One person died, another was missing while hundreds of families were either displaced or rendered homeless after flooding caused by nonstop heavy rains since Friday hit the city, according to local authorities.

The flooding further worsened the plight of city residents, especially those still in evacuation centers, who are slowly recovering from the nearly three weeks of fighting between government troops and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front forces.

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The Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, where most of the evacuees have been staying for a month now, was not spared by the floods that submerged tents.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has ordered the suspension of work in government offices, except those directly involved in the relief and rescue operations. She also ordered the suspension of classes in all levels.

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City administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., said at least 16 barangays were affected by the flood.

“We cannot get the actual details right now. There’s heavy rain and most of the areas are flooded. It’s ‘knee-deep to neck-deep,’ in some areas the flood reached to the roof,” Orendain told the INQUIRER.

Orendain added that at least 30 houses were washed away in Barangay Sinunuc.

In Barangay Putik, at least 200 families or almost 800 individuals were rescued.

An undetermined number of houses were also washed away in the villages of Pasonanca and Santa Maria.

Orendain said a still unidentified woman drowned while another remained missing.

The Mindanao Human Rights Action Center said a 17-year-old boy, identified only as Patrocinio, was reported missing in Barangay Tumaga.

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Flooding also struck the villages of Tugbungan, Baliwasan, San Jose Gusu, Guiwan, Tetuan, Boalan, Zambowod, Patalon, Ayala, Talon-Talon, Vitali, Curuan and Lumayang.

Putik barangay captain air Jerry Perez said three houses near a river were also destroyed.

In Tetuan, barangay chair John Dalipe said 20 houses were washed away by the rampaging floodwater.

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TAGS: Flooding, heavy rains, Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, MNLF, Moro National Liberation Front, Zamboanga City
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