Cotabato, Philippines – Hundreds of residents from thirteen communities in Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao were evacuated to higher lands due to flashfloods brought by heavy cloudburst on Saturday.
Shariff Aguak Mayor Zahara Upam-Ampatuan said that the affected villagers were brought to higher grounds and temporarily carried to village centers and public schools.
Ampatuan added that the local government unit experienced a hard time attending to the needs of the evacuated people whose number is being authenticated.
Moreover, due to inadequate funds, Ampatuan asked the help of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman.
Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) personnel together with Ampatuan visited the affected communities and individuals yesterday and directed the distribution of relief goods.
According to Alex Manuel, Maguindanao Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction officer, the overflowing of Allah River and the surrounding Liguasan Swamp caused the flashfloods.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old female college student of the University of Southern Mindanao was confirmed dead due to the catastrophe.
Rachiel Empas, an education student, was undertaking survival exercise in a local mountaineering club with her companions when running waters from the vicinity swept her downstream.
Empas, however, was transported to the hospital, but attending doctors declared her dead on arrival.
Empas belonged to a hiking group undergoing survival and life-saving exercise in preparation for the Mt. Apo hike season to be held next year.
Alfred Mark Rosete
ABCom, Leyte Normal University