EJ Obiena

Flashfloods hit Davao region

Voltaire Tupaz
Deaths prevented by early warning systems and vigilance of residents living near rivers

MANILA, Philippines – The Davao region woke up to another disaster even as it continues to recover from the recent tragedy in Pantukan, Compostela Valley.

Continuous heavy downpour in the region led to flashfloods early morning of Saturday, January 14, affecting the provinces of Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley. 

As of 6 pm, nearly 482 families in 20 villages across the Southern Mindanao region were affected, according to initial reports coming from rescue teams, Maj Jacob Obligado, commander of the army’s 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division, said.

A three-year-old child drowned in the flooded village of Marayag in the town of Lupon in Davao Oriental. The floods also inundated Taragona, another town in Davao Oriental.  

In Davao del Norte, nearly 152 families in the towns of Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, and Sto Tomas were likewise affected. 

Evacuation

More than a hundred families in Kapalong have evacuated to the Central Elementary School in Barangay Maniki, Kapalong. Another 22 families in Barangay Capungagan were evacuated to the Capungagan Gymnasium. Other evacuees from Barangay Talomo, Sto Tomas were moved to safer ground. 

The national roads from Asuncion to Laak and San Isidro were submerged in three-feet deep floodwaters. Electric power also went out in Asuncion. 

In Compostela Valley, nearly 230 families were affected in the towns of Monkayo and Compostela. The towns of Laak and Montevista were also flooded.

According Lt Col Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry “Agila” Division, their Disaster Relief and Rescue Units (DRRU) were deployed to conduct search and rescue operations in coordination with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Councils (MDRRCs) of the affected municipalities.

The Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) and Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) augmented the rescue teams and assisted in providing rubber boats.

Disaster rescue and response units from the 60th Infantry Battalion and 103rd lnfantry Brigade were also assigned to the affected areas in partnership with local government units to respond to the latest disaster. 

Obligado said the search and rescue operations are still being conducted despite heavy rains and impassable roads. He noted that deaths were prevented due to the implementation of early warning systems and the vigilance of the people living near rivers that began to swell the previous night. – Rappler.com