CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Close to 2,000 people fled their homes in search of safer ground as floodwaters caused by hours of heavy rain inundated communities in eastern villages in Cagayan de Oro and a town in Misamis Oriental on Sunday, October 16.
Officials initially counted some 371 families in evacuation centers in the villages of Puerto and Bugo and the neighboring town of Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental province.
Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy suspended classes in eastern parts of the city on Monday, October 17, as a result of the flooding.
The flood made roads and sections of a highway linking the city and Misamis Oriental impassable.
Bad weather also resulted in blackouts in many areas of the city.
Rampaging floodwaters swept small houses, and destroyed farms.
Villager Roger Abris said he and his family panicked and fled their house without bringing anything when rampaging floodwater reached their doorstep, and rose to waist-deep levels.
“It happened all of a sudden. We rushed outside, and fled. We had no time to save any of our belongings,” he said.
The small Abris house is now gone.
Vic Talinting, the barangay chairman of Bugo, said floodwaters submerged entire houses in some areas in his village.
In some communities, people climbed roofs and waited for rescuers to come.
“It’s the first time that we saw a flood like this in Bugo,” he said.
Uy said the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department initially recorded 140 families displaced in Puerto and 163 others in Bugo, the village where the giant food and beverage processor Del Monte Philippines Incorporated is operating its manufacturing plant.
Joy Dua, the barangay chairperson of Puerto, appealed for more relief aid for the displaced families.
Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental Mayor Nadya Emano-Elipe said floodwater also forced many families to evacuate and seek shelter in a local government facility in her town.
Local officials counted at least 68 families in an evacuation center in Tagoloan on Sunday night.
The state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Sunday’s heavy downpour was a result of a localized thunderstorm that also affected upland towns in neighboring Bukidnon province. – Rappler.com