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25,000 affected by Maguindanao floods

COTABATO CITY – Rains spawned by typhoon “Karen” have submerged 81 barangays in 10 towns in Maguindanao and affected 24,951 residents, a disaster official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said.

Myrna Jo Henry, speaking for the Humanitarian Emergency Response Action Team of the ARMM, identified the flooded towns as Ampatuan, Datu Salibo, Sultan sa Barongis, Rajah Buayan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Northern Kabuntalan, Datu Saydona Mustapha, Datu Montawal, Pagalungan, and Sultan Mastura.

These towns are situated beside the 220,000-hectare Liguasan marshland that serves as a catch basin for river water from South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, and North Cotabato.

Hardest hit was Sultan Mastura with floodwaters reaching as high as 6 feet after the Simuay River flood control project collapsed on Thursday night, affecting more than 2,000 families.

Henry said relief assistance have been extended by HEART to affected families, many of whom opted to stay home than move to safer grounds.

“They have been used to flooding. They know floodwaters will eventually subside,” Henry said, adding that some were staying in temporary evacuation centers in public schools in Sultan Mastura.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the regional disaster office has ample stocks of ready-to-eat food and other emergency and disaster provisions.

“The local government is the first responder. HEART will only provide additional assistance and course of action,” Hataman said.

Hataman has appealed to residents near the riverbanks and landslide-prone areas to quickly evacuate during continuous rains. (PNA)