AT LEAST 3,000 families in Kabacan in the southern province of Cotabato moved to higher grounds after rivers crisscrossing the town overflowed following heavy downpours Tuesday, inundating communities and farmlands.
Kabacan is considered as the “rice granary” of Cotabato for being the top producer of the staple commodity among all 17 towns in the province.
Worst hit by the flashflood are dwelling enclaves around the campus of the state-run University of Southern Mindanao (USM), not too distant from the town center.
Flood-stricken residents were rescued before dawn Wednesday by emergency responders from the local government unit of Kabacan and the Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Kabacan Mayor Evangeline P. Guzman told reporters their municipal calamity response contingent and relief workers from the office of Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza are now attending to the needs of evacuees.
Kabacan is traversed by large rivers that spring from upland towns in the adjoining Bukidnon and Cotabato provinces. The rivers drain into the nearby 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta.
“There was recurring heavy rains around in mountain ranges not too far from Kabacan before these floodwaters spread around,” Ms. Guzman told reporters.
Floodwaters from around the USM campus had spread through rice fields along the sides of the Cotabato-Kidapawan Highway and in nearby Barangay Kayaga by noontime Wednesday.
The Cotabato provincial government had assured to augment the relief supplies of the Kabacan municipal government for the flood victims. — John M. Unson