Flashfloods displace residents in 6 Bukidnon villages

MALAYBALAY CITY – Heavy rains Wednesday brought flash floods in four barangays in Cabanglasan town, and one each in Malaybalay and Valencia cities displacing a total of at least 67 families, according to separate reports from the provincial and city government disaster risk reduction and management councils.

According to Arsenio Alagenio, provincial social welfare and development officer, in his report, a copy of which was furnished to Bukidnon News, flash floods affected “15 families and still under assessment” in three villages in Cabanglasan namely, Cabulohan, Imbatug, and Capinonan.

The PSWDO still could not release an estimate of the final count of families affected as of press time.

Residents reported that flood started by 2p.m. and washed out three houses in Cabulohan. The Valderrama Bridge, connecting Cabulohan and Imbatug was also under water. The Cabanglasan town proper has remained isolated from Malaybalay City as of press time because vehicles could not get through the Summit Pass.

The report cited continues rain as cause of the flooding.

Water subsided by 10p.m. but Cerferina Caina, Arsenio’s deputy, said the pass has remained slippery for motorists. A resident also found out electricity had been affected and out in the areas. She said water overflowed from the Bobonawan River. Downstream, in Batangan, Valencia City, overflowing water also flooded villagers. But no estimate of number of affected families was released yet.

The Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative announced on radio station DXDB that heavy rains destroyed their lines. Power may only be restored on May 28 in some areas and May 29 in other villages.

Rescuers in Cabanglasan saved people who were stranded in the middle of Capinonan River, but aside from those stranded, there was no report of casualties so far, Caina said.

Cabanglasan councilor Art Ravelo says, Capinonan is the worst hit village where five houses were washed out and three carabaos drowned. Ravelo confirmed that the main roads to the town are “not passable” as of Thursday afternoon, because of “mudslides”.

He confirmed however, that food and clothing assistance from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council have already reached the flood victims.

In Malaybalay City, where flashfloods occurred only in a sitio in San Jose barangay, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 42 families fled their homes and are now at the evacuation center in Panamucan Elementary School.

Herculano Ronolo, city administrator designate, told Bukidnon News flash floods washed out 16 houses and partially damaged 18 others. No one was reported hurt in the flooding. Residents told rescuers rain started at 2p.m.. They heard a loud sound like a thud at 4p.m. just before the water of the Panamucan River widened from four meters to 24 meters wide. Ronolo said residents believe there was a tornado locally known as “buhawi.”

They gathered at the hills of the village but soon have to flee the area because the soil cracked. Ronolo said when they reached the village they saw helpless villagers because they could not cross the river with the strong current.

He said water has subsided in the morning but the flashfloods left at least 24 hectares of rice and corn farms destroyed. They estimated the damage at P800,000 for agriculture. But no estimate for property has been released so far.

He said the City Social Welfare and Development Office brought food and clothing enough for a week. The City Health Office has also fielded personnel to attend to medical needs of the victims, he added.

The city government announced relief calls Thursday from the public with the Tabang Panamucan Program. They called for food, clothing, drinking water, medicines and other needs.  (Walter I. Balane)

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