DSWD mulls forced evacuation to some 47,000 families affected by Maguindanao floods

June 1, 2010 8:35 pm 

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao, June 1 – The government is taking into consideration a force evacuation of some 47,000 families in two Maguindanao towns if they continue to resist appeals to flee as flood waters continue to rise.

Heavy downpour in Northern Maguindanao could trigger another round of flash floods that has already hit at least 10 low-lying villages in the towns of Sultan Mastura and Sultan Kudarat, according to Regional Secretary Pombaen Karon Kader of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Kader said the residents refused to totally evacuate because they claim that after few hours the water level in their villages would recede.

"We are considering forced evacuation because we anticipate more flash floods due to heavy rains the past few days," Kader told reporters.

"Their safety is our utmost concern," she said, adding that even if no rains occur in the affected towns but heavy downpour is reported upstream, specially in the towns of Barira, Buldon and Matanog, low-lying towns of Sultan Kudarat and Sultan Mastura will be flooded.

A four-hour heavy downpour occurred in the province Tuesday dawn and within eight hours the water from upland towns would overflow the Simuay river anew.

Kader said "in-house" displaced have been extended with emergency relief assistance.

Disaster and relief agency officials have been meeting to find possible evacuation site should the water continue to rise.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the water level in three of 10 villages was reported at neck-deep and could go higher, according to Kader.

Newly promoted Brig. Gen. Ernesto Aradanas, chief of the military's 6th Infantry Division, had his 15 six by six trucks ready should a forced evacuation is ordered.

He also sent two companies of soldiers with boots and raincoats to Sultan Kudarat town to assist the affected families anytime. (PNA)



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