MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 400 families or 1,600 people in Valencia, Bukidnon were rescued from their submerged homes late Tuesday afternoon, December 27, after nearby villages and the city proper were deluged by floodwaters.
Three helicopters were used to rescue at least 193 people, according to Lt Col Jose Maria Cuerpo, battalion commander of the Philippine Army’s 81st IB.
Kate Villahermosa, who posted an amateur video of the rising floodwaters, said she saw some rescue boats scouring the Pulangui River. She added that an elderly person was rescued by a chopper.
As early as 3 am, according to Villahermosa, many people already started evacuating after text messages warning of strong river currents were widely circulated.
The 81st IB teamed up with the 403rd Brigade, the Air Force, and the local government to conduct rescue operations that started at noon and ended at 4:40 pm — after floodwaters started to subside.
Vicky Aquino, a broadcast journalist in Malaybalay, Bukidnon reported that three people were said to be missing. Her daughter, Twitter user Jimavick Aquino (@jimavick), posted the information on her account.
Aquino also tweeted: “Getting worried, we cannot contact some relatives. ;( #BukidnonFlood“
But Cuerpo could not confirm the report. He said that thus far, there are no fatalities.
Two main evacuation centers were set up at the Valencia City gym and at the multipurpose hall of Barangay Batangan, which was the most severely flooded village. 11 other smaller evacuation centers were set up throughout the city.
“The centers need clothing, water and food donations,” said Cuerpo.
Valencia, which consists of 31 barangays, is at the heart of Mindanao. It lies southeast of Cagayan de Oro, which was recently ravaged by Tropical Storm Sendong.
The city is said to be generally wet throughout the year and normally experiences a short and slight dry spell during the month of December, although it gets rains in the latter half of the year. Valencia is outside the typhoon belt. – Rappler.com