By Allen Estabillo
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) — Around 200 families in the coastal municipalities of Kiamba and Maasim in Sarangani Province were displaced as flash floods ravaged several villages in the area on Monday afternoon.
Jerome Barranco, assistant regional director of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of Region 12, said Tuesday residents situated in communities near two critical rivers and other tributaries in Kiamba ang Maasim were forced to evacuate after being swept by huge volumes of flood waters.
He said the waters of the area’s rivers swelled on Monday afternoon following hours of heavy rains spawned by the Low Pressure Area affecting parts of the country.
Citing a report from the Sarangani Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), he said most of the evacuees were from four villages of Kiamba that were affected by the floods.
Barranco specifically cited Sitio Tual of Barangay Poblacion, Sito Kitagas of Barangay Katubao, Barangay Lumuyon and Purok Masagana of Barangay Badtasan.
He said an initial 15 houses were reported as totally damaged after being swept by rampaging floodwater at the height of the flash floods along Tual and Lumuyon rivers as well as nearby tributaries.
“The rainfall volume measured at around 16 millimeters per hour, which was beyond the normal level,” he said.
Rene Punzalan, Sarangani PDRRMO head, said several schools in Kiamba town were forced to suspend their classes as a result of the floods.
He said the floods also damaged portions of the approaches of the Maglangit and Lumuyon bridges.
“We’re currently assessing the damages to these bridges to facilitate the immediate interventions,” he said.
Punzalan said the area has already been placed under the blue alert status in the wake of the floods.
Under the blue alert status, half of the personnel of all regional and municipal disaster risk reduction management offices, the regional offices of civil defense and other concerned government agencies in the would-be and affected areas should be at their posts.
He said Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon directed the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office to deliver relief assistance to the affected residents.
Solon also pushed for the immediate declaration of Kiamba town under the state of calamity to ensure the speedy delivery of calamity assistance and other related interventions to the area, he said.
The official added that the municipal government of Kiamba, through its Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, is still assessing the damage caused by the calamity to the area, especially on the affected properties and agricultural crops. (PNA)