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Floods hit 16 North Cotabato villages

 • 17:48 PM Thu Aug 6, 2015
Malu C. Manar
Floods have become a regular occurrence in North Cotabato's low lying villages like in this file photo in Kabacan, North Cotabato in January. (ndbcfile)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Flashfloods brought about by torrential rains inundated at least 16 villages in Pikit, a low-lying municipality in North Cotabato, according to reports from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO). The floods also displaced some 7,386 families from the affected villages, according to Pikit MDRRM officer Tahira Kalantongan. She said the affected areas are all located near the Rio Grande de Mindanao, one of the country’s largest rivers. Five of these barangays are hardly hit, which included the barangays of Bago Inged, Buliok, Barongis, Kabaculan, Macasendeg, and Punol. Kalantongan said they started to relocate the villagers to safer places on Wednesday.Also, the flood victims were given immediate relief assistance, the MDRRM officer added. In Tulunan town, at least five barangays, three of which are located in the hinterlands, were declared ‘high risk areas’ during heavy rainfall, especially when typhoon hit their areas. Tulunan MDRRM officer Jeric Ardina identified landslide-prone areas as Marbuk, Bacung, and Daeg, and flood-prone areas as Poblacion, and Sibsib. Last week, these villages were inundated with flood waters when an irrigation canal in nearby M’lang town was damaged due to heavy rains. In Kidapawan City, the local government ordered on Wednesday force evacuation of at least 200 families residing near the slopes on Mount Apo after they recorded 23 incidents of landslides from Sitio Sudsuhayan until Lake Agko area in Barangay Ilomavis. The areas are situated near the geothermal power plants owned by the Energy Development Corporation (EDC). Psalmer Bernalte, Kidapawan DRRM officer, said they have to enforce an ordinance that orders residents living near the creeks and mountain slopes to immediately vacate the area if rainfall is measured at 200mm. In fact, a number of roads leading to Lake Agko were closed to vehicles when eroded soil blocked the path. Some residents, however, have refused to heed to the order. Among them was Richor Umpan, leader of the Manobos in Barangay Ilomavis, who said that if there is somebody that must leave the place, it should be the EDC, which he blamed for the series of landslides in the area. The EDC owns two geothermal power plants with a total capacity of 100MW in Barangay Ilomavis, this city. It is digging another geothermal well, also in the area, Umpan said.

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