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Rescue groups monitor rivers in flood-prone Central Mindanao towns

 • 01:40 AM Mon Jun 27, 2016
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By: 
JOhn Unson

COTABATO CITY --- Emergency outfits on Saturday urged villagers in riverside enclaves to be watchful of the level of rivers and marshes nearby amid recurring downpours since last week around the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta.The vast delta, touted as the world's largest and surrounded by Central Mindanao’s adjoining North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces, is a catch basin for some 50 large rivers, including tributaries of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, that spring from hinterlands in the region.Captain Joann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said their commander, Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, ordered on Sunday all of their units in Central Mindanao to monitor rivers and marshes that connects to the Liguasan Delta. This is part of our calamity protection program,” Petinglay said.All of the towns in Maguindanao and North Cotabato that are located along the Liguasan Delta are under 6th ID’s jurisdiction.Flashfloods spawned by heavy rains hit last week low-lying areas in Pikit, Carmen and Aleosan, all in North Cotabato, and in Maguindanao’s adjoining Shariff Aguak and Mamasapano towns.About 4,000 people in the affected areas were forced to evacuate to higher grounds when rampaging floodwaters swept through their villages after more than 12 hours of torrential rains.Petinglay said special units of 6th ID trained in rescue operations have been ordered to stand down and be ready for possible missions when floods hit low-lying areas.Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Sunday said their Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) has also been monitoring the situation in flood-prone areas in Maguindanao, ready to respond to flood emergencies.The HEART received two reports of minor highway accidents amid heavy downpours last Friday in two Maguindanao towns that are both traversed by the Cotabato-Isulan Highway.The HEART, operating under Hataman’s ministerial control, had tapped the support of volunteer groups of two-way radio owners to help monitor the rivers and swamps in low-lying areas in Maguindanao, a component province of ARMM.

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