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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Relief aid-loaded trucks left Cagayan de Oro on Monday, October 31, to bring food and portable water purifiers to flood-stricken areas in Maguindanao del Norte.
Charlito Manlupig, the president of the Cagayan de Oro-based non-governmental organization Balay Mindanaw Foundation Incorporated, said the convoy used an alternate route from Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, up to Cotabato province to reach the flood-stricken Maguindanao del Norte.
After the collapse of the Nituan Bridge in Parang, Maguindanao, during the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng late last week, the alternate route offered the best way to Maguindanao from Cagayan de Oro.
Nituan Bridge was a vital link to the Ramos Highway that connects Cotabato City to Marawi and Iligan cities in Northern Mindanao.
Bangsamoro Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said several damaged bridges and vital roads made relief operations in the province challenging.
Manlupig said Balay Mindanao sent eight portable water purifiers so affected Maguindanao residents can have safe water to drink.
He said they have entrusted the purifiers to Social Services Minister Raisa Jajurie of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Manlupig said more aid would be brought to Maguindanao del Norte from various groups that expressed willingness to help.
The regional government said the worst-hit towns in Maguindanao del Norte were Datu Odin Sinsuat, Datu Blah Sinsuat, and Upi, where more than 40 people died due to flooding and landslides.
Lanao del Sur provincial information officer Jennie Tamano said a convoy of eight trucks loaded with rice, sardines, noodles, coffee, and sardines also left from the province to Maguindanao on Monday morning.
Tamano said the convoy left via another route to avoid getting stuck near the Nituan Bridge.
She said two additional trucks also left Monday morning for the town of Balabagan in Lanao del Sur where 300 families were forced to evacuate.
In Zamboanga City, local legislators approved the recommendation of Mayor John Dalipe and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to place the entire city under a state of calamity.
The Zamboanga City Council approved the recommendation during an emergency special session on Saturday, October 29, after many areas in the city were flooded following hours of heavy rain the day before.
The city government said at least four people were declared missing in the flood that hit the homes of some 3,000 families in 42 villages.
Zamboanga’s City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said at least 300 families in the village of Manicahan alone were displaced Friday night due to severe flooding.
The city government assisted residents as they evacuated to higher ground.
In the village of Ayala, at least 1,300 residents sought refuge in a gymnasium, school, and church.
In some Zamboanga villages, the local government’s rescue teams deployed rubber boats to bring stranded families to safer ground as rampaging floodwaters swelled, toppling trees and destroying houses like in the hard-hit village of San Jose Gusu. – Rappler.com