Maguindanao flood forces 50,000 to wait for aid
COTABATO CITY—At least 50,000 individuals in Maguindanao, mostly survivors of armed clashes between the military and renegade Moro rebels and suffering from a dry spell in their farms, are again at the mercy of relief organizations due to flooding.
Kirby Abdullah, an official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team, said the flood, triggered by days of rains, had already hit 10 towns in the province as of Thursday.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said the flood came even as the province has yet to recover from the effects of the dry spell and barely months after residents had been displaced by the government’s all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front (BIFF).
A state of calamity in the province was first declared when the government launched an all-out offensive against the BIFF, leading to the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.
A second state of calamity had been declared to free up funds to help farmers suffering from the dry spell.
Lynette Estandarte, provincial coordinator for special projects and relief operations, said a third state of calamity might be declared.
According to Abdullah, the town of Sultan sa Barongis had the most residents displaced by the floods at 15,565 as of Thursday.
“The water is receding and rising every now and then,” said Abdullah.
Also flooded were the towns of Datu Paglas, Paglat, Buluan, Mangudadatu, Pandag, Shariff Saydona, Gen. SK Pendatun, Mamasapano and Rajah Buayan, according to Governor Mangudadatu.
Classes had been suspended in these towns.
At least three tons of food had already been distributed to evacuees, said Estandarte.
She said the provincial government expects more areas to be flooded as tributaries continue to swell.
In Central Mindanao, at least 26,000 people had also been displaced by floods and landslides, according to Jerome Barranco, deputy director of the Office of Civil Defense in the region.
Barranco said the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat were the worst hit. At least P100 million in crops had been destroyed in these provinces, said Barranco.
Five people have so far been confirmed killed in Central Mindanao due to the floods and landslides. Edwin Fernandez with a report from Allan
Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao
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