Thousands displaced by flashfloods in South Cotabato
Emergency responders from the South Cotabato provincial government wade through floodwaters in Tantangan town to reach out to affected villagers.
Philstar.com/John Unson

Thousands displaced by flashfloods in South Cotabato

John Unson (Philstar.com) - June 12, 2021 - 5:52pm

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines — More than 2,000 villagers got displaced by flashfloods that swept through low-lying barangays in South Cotabato province Friday.

Worst hit by flashfloods Friday night, spawned by heavy rains several hours before, are lowlands in Tantangan town, which is near Koronadal City, the capital of South Cotabato.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo said Saturday rescue and calamity responders from the provincial government have been reaching out since late Friday to flood-stricken communities.

Flashfloods also hit a number of farming enclaves in Norala town, where a large river straddling through the municipality swelled and overflowed following heavy downpours.

The South Cotabato provincial government mobilized as early as Friday emergency responders in anticipation of possible flashfloods due to heavy downpours.

A number of barangays in South Cotabato were hit just a week ago by flashfloods spawned by torrential rains.

“The provincial government is doing its best to attend to the needs of the affected residents,” Tamayo said Saturday.

In a statement Friday, the South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said it is thankful to Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and to officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways-12 for lending the provincial government equipment needed to remove debris blocking rivers, causing the inundation of riverside farming enclaves.

One of the equipment provided by the DPWH-12, a backhoe, is now removing debris that accumulated at one side of the large Puti Bridge in Norala town, swept downstream by rampaging floodwaters from adjacent hinterlands.

The level of floodwater in the river whose opposite banks are connected to each other by the Puti Bridge have risen so high after heavy rains fell on mountain ranges nearby.

Tamayo, chairperson of the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council, said Friday their calamity and disaster response teams are again out, monitoring the large rivers crisscrossing lowlands in the province.

Tamayo said he is grateful to the regional director of DPWH-12, Bashir Ibrahim, and district engineer Khalin Sultan, for extending to the South Cotabato provincial government technical support needed to hasten its flood mitigation efforts.

Rivers straddling through the affected towns swelled and overflowed following heavy rains, causing floods that swept through vast swaths or rice and corn farms.

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