(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Flooding affects 160,000 in south

Pigcawayan, Mindanao - Villagers gather on a highway in the southern Philippine town of Pigcawayan as floodwater that swamped the road bring debris. About 160,000 families have been displaced in the southern island of Mindanao due to flash floods caused b
Contributor/IRIN

Heavy rains across the southern Philippines have resulted in massive flooding in many low-lying areas of Mindanao Island, with villagers either marooned inside their houses by waist-deep waters or forced to evacuate, according to disaster relief officials on 30 July.



Large swathes of farmland covering more than 2,486ha in the central Mindanao towns of Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap, Aleosan, Pikit and Tamontaka have also been damaged by floods, according to the Office of Civil Defence in Manila.



Some 40 houses were destroyed in the town of Sultan Mastura in Maguindanao province, where tens of thousands have already been displaced by almost a year of fighting between government forces and separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.



Some 159,775 people in central Mindanao or about 31,955 families have been affected so far, and while flooding in some areas has subsided, large parts remain inundated, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said.



The department said relief and medical supplies were being rushed to the area while makeshift soup kitchens have also been set up in schools converted into evacuation centres.



Bai Soraida Ampatuan, regional social welfare secretary, said disaster relief officials were struggling to assist families hardest hit by the flash floods. She said some families had opted to stay inside their inundated homes, but many had moved to evacuation centres.












A map of the Philippines and surrounding countries highlighting Mindanao island.

Google Maps
A map of the Philippines and surrounding countries highlighting Mindanao island.
http://maps.google.com/
Monday, January 28, 2008
Des affrontements récents font des dizaines de milliers de déplacés
A map of the Philippines and surrounding countries highlighting Mindanao island.


Photo: Google Maps
A map of the Philippines and surrounding countries highlighting Mindanao island

"If the rains continue, the number of evacuees might increase," Ampatuan said. She said among the hardest hit was Maguindanao Province, where more than 100 villages were still knee- or waist-deep in water.



In the nearby province of North Cotabato, meanwhile, 15 of 17 towns have been placed under a “state of calamity” by Governor Jesus Sacdalan, who promptly released more than US$400,000 in funds for emergency relief assistance.



Dhona Salvacion, a resident of Sultan Kudarat town, said her house had been submerged for about a week. She said more than 100 families in her village had been marooned and were awaiting assistance.



"We hope the rains stop soon," she told IRIN, but pointed that out even if the weather clears, their low-lying village has historically been a catchbasin for waters cascading down from upland townships. It also sits along the Simuay River, which often breaks its banks.



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