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(UPDATE) Floods submerge 12 Maguindanao towns

 • 20:19 PM Tue Aug 4, 2015
Edwin Fernandez
Floods submerged communities in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao in early July. (ARMM-HEART file photo)

COTABATO CITY -The number of flooded towns in Maguindanao due to inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) rose to 12 but disaster officials said no evacuation was reported.In Cotabato City, the city government has suspendedclasses in primary and secondary schools due to day-long rain.Lawyer Kirby Abdullah, focal person of Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART), told reportersthe emergency response team of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), more towns have been submerged due to overnight light to moderate rain in Maguindanao.It has been raining all day long in the province since Monday, raising the water level of communities around the 220,000 hectares of its marshland. Water continue to rise but eventually submerged when rain slowed down, Abdullah said, explaining why the residents in the affected towns prefer to stay home. We are closely monitoring the water level, we are on stand by 24/7, he added.The affected towns were Pagalungan, Montawal, Paglat, Sultan sa Barongis, Mamasapano, Shariff Saydona, Datu Piang, Kabuntalan Mother, Northern Kabuntalan, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo and some villages ofDatu Odin Sinsuat.Maguindanao has been the catch basin of river water from South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and even Davao del Sur.The flood water would flow through the Rio Grande de Mindanao en route to the Moro Gulf.Early Tuesday morning, the Office of Civil Defense in the ARMM reported that atleast 30 villages in
four towns of Maguindanao have been submerged by flood water spawned by
inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ), disaster officials said.

Myrna Angot, chair of the Office of Civil Defense in
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OCD-ARMM), told DXMS Radyo Bida the affected villages
were low lying communities sitting beside the Liguasan marsh.

These are the towns of Datu Montawal, Pagalungan,
Sultan sa Barongis and Paglat.

No evacuation or displacement yet,” Angot said. If
the rain continues, chances are people will vacate their homes to higher

The Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat
have experienced light to moderate rain the past three days brought about by
the ITCZ.

Angot said the Humanitarian Emergency Response and
Action Team (HEART), the disaster action team of the ARMM, is now preparing to
extend aid to affected families.

Water level in some villages of Montawal and Sultan
sa Barongis has reached as high as knee level and residents fear the inclement
weather will worsen the situation.

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