Flash floods hit 950 hectares of rice farms in Valencia City

SAN ISIDRO, Valencia City (Bukidnon News/29 Dec) – About 950 hectares of rice farms in Valencia City have been underwater because of last
Tuesday’s flashfloods, the provincial agriculture office reported.
Estelita Madjos, deputy to the provincial agriculturist, said that the
flashfloods affected the rice farmers most. Valencia, she noted, has
at least 10,000 hectares of rice farms as of December 2011.
There is an overflow of water from the Pulangi River but
it might not be useful to farmlands in the rice-producing villages
along its path.
The Bukidnon office of the National Irrigation Administration also
reported a damaged irrigation siphon facility in San Isidro village
that serves at least 200 hectares of rice-producing villages in the
cities of Malaybalay and Valencia.
The facility, a concrete rectangular structure with cylindrical
interior used to siphon water from the Pulangi River to the
irrigation canal, was carried by floodwaters Tuesday morning and is
now stuck a few meters below the 37-year-old Pulangi Bridge here.
Thus, it could not supply water to the farms anymore, said Engr. Jimmy
Apostol, NIA-Bukidnon irrigation manager.
NIA estimates that damage to the irrigation infrastructure is at P50 million.
Apostol said that at least P30-million worth of rice farms served by
the flooded irrigation siphon facility will be totally damaged if
water will not flow back to the irrigation canals again.
Authorities have closed the Pulangi Bridge for big trucks as its
approaches were partially damaged.
San Isidro Barangay Captain Henry Ladesma showed to reporters the damage to the
bridge’s riprap protecting the foundation to the approach.
The bridge connects southeastern villages of Malaybalay such as
Bangcud, Aglayan, and Violeta to Valencia’s interior villages and is a
shorter route going to San Fernando town from the northern part of
Estanislao Aniana, 60, said it was the strongest flood they
experienced since 1982, when another flood caused the swelling of the
Pulangi River
“The fresh image of Sendong victims and survivors drove us out from
our dwellings,” he said, adding that they usually just stay in their
house and wait for the water level to go down.
Ladesma said water started to rise at 2 a.m. When it did not subside
early morning, he immediately ordered forced evacuation of residents in
the riverbanks. A total of 560 of the 660 families left to seek safer
grounds, but most of them returned as soon as the water subsided,
starting Tuesday afternoon.
Residents climbed to their roofs or the trees to wait for rescuers as
rampaging waters from the Pulangi River invaded houses in 10 of
Valencia’s 31 barangays. At the peak of the flood, water level rose by
four meters, according to Alejandro Larosa Jr., executive officer of
the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC).
The flashfloods displaced an estimated 1,146 families in the city’s
riverside barangays, according to initial estimates from the City
Social Welfare and Development Office released Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, 1,332 families have been listed in the evacuation
sites, according to the CDRRMC. Capt. Alejandro Larosa Jr, executive officer of the
CDRRMC confirmed no casualties as of December 28.
The city gymnasium was used for the first time to accommodate
residents who left their homes by the riverbanks. It is the city’s
biggest evacuation camp; smaller evacuation camps were set up in the
nine other affected barangays. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)

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