48,000 FAMILIES DISPLACED BY FLOODS IN MAGUINDANAO

Cotabato City, July 23, 2003 By: Malu CadeliÑa Manar (BULLETIN) Some 48,000 families in 18 low-lying towns in Maguindanao have been displaced by “flash floods” since July 14, the provincial government of Maguindanao reported.

To date, four deaths due to the floods were confirmed, said Maguindanao Provincial Administrator Norie Unas.

Also, the continued rains has aggravated the incidence of diarrhea, pneumonia and other typhoon-related diseases in Maguindanao.

Elsie Amil, Maguindanao social welfare officer, said three children had already died of diarrhea as a result of the floods.

The town of Sultan Kudarat was the hardest hit when the latest typhoon hit south central Mindanao.

At least 12 villages were submerged. These include barangays Bulalo, Banubo, Bulaong, Gang, Calsada, Katuli, Siketan, and Poblacion.

Also, knee-deep waters flooded the warehouse of National Food Authority in Poblacion, Sultan Kudarat.

Amil said the continued rains that started last week caused the swelling of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, the second largest river in Mindanao.

Two weeks ago, knee-deep floods had displaced 1,659 poor Muslim families from Sultan Kudarat.

Rescue teams were already dispatched to the remotest villages in search of missing children who were carried away by strong currents of water.

Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tocao Mastura has asked military trucks to bring to safety a number of families believed to have been trapped when deep waters inundated their villages.

Thousands of flood victims from Sultan Kudarat are temporarily housed at the Cotabato City Central Pilot Elementary School where they are given food, clothing and other relief goods by government's disaster agencies and nongovernment institutions.

"Hindi namin ito inaasahan. Wala sa hinagap namin na tataas hanggang leeg ang tubig dito," a mother of five said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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