Redirect Simuay river in Maguindanao to save Cotabato City from flooding — govt engineer

August 6, 2009 9:21 am 

COTABATO CITY, Aug. 6 — A government engineer here said the channeling back of the Simuay River to its original course will save this city from flooding.

"The re-directing of Simuay river flow to the sea will spare Cotabato City and its environs from heavy flooding," Engineer Najib Dilangalen, head of the Cotabato City Sub-Engineering District Office, said.

To date, at least 20 people have died due to flash floods in Central Mindanao as a result of a week-long moderate to heavy rains last week.

More than P320 million worth of infrastructure and agricultural crops have been damaged by the flooding when the Rio Grade de Mindanao and Alla River, two huge rivers in mainland Mindanao, overflowed, inundating low-lying areas in the region.

Worst hit by the flooding was Cotabato City and the towns of Sultan Kudarat and Sultan Mastura in Maguindanao. Dilangalen said the Simuay river was "by act of nature, diverted to Rio Grande de Mindanao, bringing in sediments, fine sands, mud and debris to the river causing it to become shallow," he said.

"Redirecting Simuay river's course would spare the city from devastation," he said.

His office has recommended to the presidential Task Force on Mindanao River Rehabilitation, chaired by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, a P62 million funds for the re-channeling of Simuay river.

Quevedo was very alarmed with what he described as worsening flood problem that hit the city and at least 38 towns in seven provinces.

"A terrible tragedy," was how he described the devastation in Central Mindanao while on board an Air Force chopper last Sunday.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council has reported that close to 400,000 persons have been affected by the flashfloods.

Quevedo has appealed to the national government and to the halls of Malacanang to “urgently address the problem because people are suffering, agricultural crops and infrastructures are destroyed.”

Dilangalen said like anybody else in the city, as a flood victim, he, too, wanted that the problem is solved quickly.

During the June 2008 flooding, Dilangalen’s home was submerged and, last month, it was submerged anew with the water level rising nine inches as compared to last year's.

Dilangalen said if the Simuay river problem is not addressed now, next year, this city will be under water again or anytime heavy downpour occur upstream or in the mountains of Bukidnon, Agusan, North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

This city is serving as catch-basin of floodwaters from Agusan-Cotabato river in the north and Ala River in the south. (PNA)

DCT/NYP/EOF/jmd

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