Flood damage in Mindanao reaches over P400M

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

DAVAO CITY -- Inclement weather damaged over P400 million worth of crops and property in Maguindanao and placed Cotabato underwater, prompting a Catholic bishop to appeal for emergency aid for victims of flooding.

More than 75 percent of Cotabato city has been flooded, the city's Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said, citing a report by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Bagaforo said they have appealed for foodstuff, medicines, potable drinking water, mosquito needs, blankets and sleeping mats. The evacuees also need cooking and kitchen utensils.


According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC), damages due to flooding have reached P411 million.

Losses to agriculture amounted to P388 million, infrastructure at P21.47 million and private properties at P622,000.

In Maguindanao alone, over 320,000 residents were affected and P332 million worth of rice, corn, banana, vegetables, mango and tobacco was destroyed.

The flooding also displaced 120,038 families representing nearly 612,000 individuals in nine provinces of Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte and Sur, North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

Of this number, 36,280 families or 190,983 people are still in evacuation centers, the NDRMMC said.

On Thursday, classes in 47 schools in North Cotabato were suspended due to rough weather and flooding, said Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Director Dr. Isabelita Borres.

Of the number, 42 are elementary schools while the rest are secondary schools, she added.

She said several other schools, despite not being affected by the flood, have also suspended their classes to ensure the safety of students.

Classes have been suspended in 20 schools in Pikit, 10 in Tulunan, seven in Midsayap, five in M'lang, six in Pigcawayan, two in Magpet and one in Libungan.

Lifting of the suspension order will depend on local school officials, she added.

Meanwhile, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, chair of Task Force Water Basin, blamed the worsening flood situation to the water hyacinths and silt in the waterways.

"The long range plan is how to stop the water hyacinths from going down to Cotabato. We are looking a technology just what like China did with its water hyacinth problem in the Yangtze river," he said.

When water hyacinths accumulate, they clog the tributary streams of the Liguasan Marsh.

Quevedo said this often leads to the flooding of the low-lying villages because the water cannot directly flow to the Rio Grande de Mindanao.

As of Thursday, authorities were scrambling to remove the water lilies from the 373-kilometer Rio Grande, the country's second longest river system after Cagayan River.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was placed under state of calamity early this week as weather forecasters said rains will continue for the next few days due to an incoming storm. (Virgil Lopez/EF of Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 17, 2011.

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