IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay -- Some 217 families were displaced after flash floods caused by heavy rains inundated 17 villages in five towns in Zamboanga del Norte on January 17.

Eric Salvador, regional information officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said about 1,135 displaced individuals are temporarily taking shelter at 11 evacuation centers spread across the five affected towns.

The flood's death toll has risen to seven. Two more people were recovered by the rescuing team from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Zamboanga del Norte Police Director Edwin Buenaventura Wagan said the remains of Jeffrey Gamtiao, 35, and Pepe Randes, 57 were found late Tuesday. Both of them were from Roxas town.

Recovered earlier were Lean Denise, 5; Arann Zurc, 3; and Christine Etam, 7, all of Roxas town; Jomar Rivera, 14, of Katipunan; and Dominador Meraveles, 80, of Manukan.

Efforts are underway to locate seven-year-old Jeremie Tawat, of Barangay Mate in Manukan, who was reported missing.

The heavy downpour for two days has submerged 17 barangays of the towns of Jose Dalman, Roxas, Piñan, Katipunan, and Labason.

The flood has damaged agricultural products, livestock, and properties.

In Roxas town, the damage was pegged at P100 million, while other towns have yet to determine the losses from the flood.

Jose Dalman Mayor Rachel Ferrater said they have yet to assess the extent of the damage in her town.

She said some of the affected families, mostly from low-lying areas, are still housed at the town gymnasium.

The DSWD is coordinating closely with town officials to help the displaced families. (SunStar Philippines)