SoCot on high alert vs. floods, landslides

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – South Cotabato province remained on high alert on Monday against the possible occurrence of major flash floods and landslides as intermittent rains continued in several areas.

Rolly Doane Aquino, acting head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said they are continuously monitoring communities traversed by flood-prone rivers and tributaries, and areas considered as highly vulnerable to landslides.

He cited barangays situated near the Allah and Banga rivers, low-lying areas, and the upland portions of the province.

On Sunday, he said the water level and current in the Allah River intensified anew and reportedly damaged portions of irrigation the facilities maintained by the National Irrigation Administration in Barangay Tubi-allah, Surallah town.

“Our responders and volunteers are on standby and ready to respond in case of emergency,” Aquino said in an advisory.

Parts of South Cotabato have been experiencing moderate to heavy rains almost daily since last week due to the effects of the monsoon trough and the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

Nearly 500 families in the municipalities of Tantangan and Norala were temporarily displaced over the weekend due to heavy flooding while landslides were reported in Tboli and Lake Sebu towns.

Some 300 families in Barangay New Iloilo, Tantangan evacuated on Friday night after waist-deep floodwaters submerged its seven riverside communities.

Barangay chairman Benhur PeƱol said the evacuees, who stayed in the barangay gymnasium, started to return to their homes on Saturday afternoon after the floodwaters subsided.

In Norala, at least 194 families from Barangays Lapuz, Liberty, and Matapol were also evacuated on Friday night by the Municipal DDRMO due to flash floods along the critical Banga river.

Aiza Lim, MDRRMO head, said the floods also affected portions of Barangays San Jose, San Miguel, and BS Aquino.

She said they allowed the evacuees to return home on Monday morning but advised them to remain alert and be ready for possible evacuation, noting that the situation in the area is still volatile.

“We’re regularly monitoring the situation in Tboli so we can immediately inform our communities in case of another flooding threat,” she told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview.

Lim was referring to the water level along the headwaters of Banga River situated in the upland areas of Tboli town.

Two residents died two weeks ago after being swept by rushing floodwaters at a portion of the river in Purok Paraiso, Barangay San Miguel following hours of heavy rains spawned by Tropical Storm Dante. (PNA)


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