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Severe Flash Floods and Mudflows Ravage Towns in Maguindanao, Lanao Sur

COTABATO CITY – Flash floods and mudflows caused by heavy rains affected thousands of residents in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, and Maguindanao del Norte on Tuesday night.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Maguindanao del Sur provincial disaster officer Tim Ambolodto said the inclement weather resulted in massive flooding that affected over 70,000 families or about 350,000 individuals.

The affected towns include Datu Montawal, Pagalungan, Gen. S.K. Pendatun, Paglat, Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Ampatuan, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Datu Salibo, Mamasapano, Datu Piang and Datu Hofer.

“Relief distribution to affected families is underway, with those affected primarily home-based or staying in their relatives’ homes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Benyasser Sarigan, municipal planning and development coordinator of the upland town of Matanog, Maguindanao del Norte, said search and rescue operations are continuing while clearing the Sec. Narciso Ramos highway of mud and forest debris is ongoing to allow free passage of all vehicles.

Portions of the highway connecting Matanog town to the coastal towns of Kapatagan, Balabagan, and Malabang in Lanao del Sur virtually turned into a river when rainwater flowed down from the mountains of Marogong to the coastal communities.

“Heavy downpours that have caused flooding since Tuesday afternoon have also destroyed at least 120 houses in our Malabang municipality,” Sarigan said in a separate radio interview.

In a statement, Matanog Mayor Zohria S. Bansil-Guro said that it was the first time her town, inhabited by 36,000 residents, experienced severe floods due to weather disturbances affecting Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Sarigan said initial reports indicated that five persons were missing, including three children.

“There are no confirmed fatalities yet, but several persons were slightly injured in the flooding,” he said.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, several sections of the Sec. Narciso Ramos highway had been cleared of debris and mud, allowing rescue vehicles to pass to Lanao Sur towns. (PNA)

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