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ILIGAN, Philippines – The death toll in the January 2 flooding in Lanao del Norte climbed to three, while the government counted more than 8,000 people displaced as heavy rain pounded the province after the New Year’s Day revelry.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Northern Mindanao confirmed the flooding-related deaths in the towns of Tubod and Baroy, including an 8-year-old girl who was swept away by the rampaging floodwater.
The RDRRMC also counted 8,231 people or 2,190 families displaced when floodwaters spawned by a low pressure area submerged communities in the towns of Baroy, Kapatagan, Kolambugan, Lala, El Salvador, and Tubod, as of Tuesday, January 3.
Officials said the six towns were the worst hit, although the province’s 24 municipalities were all pounded by heavy rain.
The RDRRMC said floodwaters and landslides also destroyed at least seven houses in Lala town.
Abeliza Cepe Manzano, the head of Lanao del Norte’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said road clearing operations were ongoing as of this posting.
Manzano said some roads were damaged, while muddy waters and debris made several others, including bridges, impassable.
The extent of the damage caused by the flooding and landslides in Lanao del Norte was still being assessed.
State weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration blamed the flooding and landslides on heavy rainfall brought about by the trough of a low pressure area that affected many parts of Mindanao.
Lala Mayor Angel Yap said the situation was so bad that the police, military, and the fire protection bureau had to deploy their personnel to help town hall workers in conducting search and rescue operations.
Yap said the town government was prepared but needed help.
Tubod Mayor Dionisio Cabahug Jr. said the situation was “manageable,” but local officials were considering an official declaration of a state of calamity in the town.
The declaration would allow the town government to tap funds reserved for calamity situations to aid affected families and their communities.
“We would appreciate some aid. But what we are focusing on right now is how to prevent something like this from happening again. We are collating the data needed for us to effectively respond in times of disaster situations,” Cabahug said. – Rappler.com