Floods hit Aglayan, Cabangahan; at least 360 families evacuated

 

Residents climb houses to evade the flood as water level begin to rise around 3p.m. in Aglayan's commercial area| Bukidnon News photo Courtesy of Raquel Sale Batusin from Aglayan, Malaybalay City

Residents climb houses to evade the flood as water level begin to rise around 3p.m. in Aglayan’s commercial area| Bukidnon News photo Courtesy of Raquel Sale Batusin from Aglayan, Malaybalay City

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/07 October) The City Social Welfare and Development Office reported a total of 360 families or around 540 persons flocked to evacuation centers as flash floods hit barangays Aglayan and Cabangahan, both flood prone areas, Saturday afternoon. 

Most of the evacuees, about 300 families, were from Brgy. Cabangahan. They flocked to the Cabangahan barangay hall as heavy rains poured around noon Saturday. The PAGASA weather bureau reported thunderstorms over areas in Bukidnon as typhoon Ramil enters the country.

The families occupied the purok (zone) cottages built around the barangay hall for community functions, said Dr. Lourdes dela Torre from the BECO Foundation of the two electric cooperatives in Bukidnon, which was among organizations who distributed relief goods in the area Sunday.

Dela Torre said based on the report they got from the barangay council as of Sunday afternoon, 21 families lost their houses totally to flood waters.

A top down multicab vehicle is carried by flood waters as water level rises starting 3p.m. in Aglayan, Malaybalay City Saturday afternoon|Bukidnon News photo by Raquel Sale Batusin, Contributor

A top down multicab vehicle is carried by flood waters as water level rises starting 3p.m. in Aglayan, Malaybalay City Saturday afternoon|Bukidnon News photo by Raquel Sale Batusin, Contributor

Anatolio Abellanosa of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) Emergency Rescue Team reported 20 more houses were partially damaged in Puroks 3, 4, and 8 in Cabangahan and eight more houses in Brgy. Aglayan.

Residents said flood waters came from upland Malaybalay City and Lantapan town.

Some residents volunteered to rescue some of the trapped residents but later withdraw due to the rising water level. Those trapped held on until the water subsided| Bukidnon News photo courtesy of Raquel Sale Batusin from Aglayan, Malaybalay City

Some residents volunteered to rescue some of the trapped residents but later withdraw due to the rising water level. Those trapped held on until the water subsided| Bukidnon News photo courtesy of Raquel Sale Batusin from Aglayan, Malaybalay City

Traffic was blocked in the village Saturday for three hours, according to residents who responded to this reporter’s query over the phone and social network.  Water was knee deep, they added.

Photos posted on Facebook by residents showed that flooded areas included houses near an irrigation canal and stores along the barangay’s commercial district.

Rescuers from the Malaybalay City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office responded to distress calls among residents in the flooded portions of the village who were unable to get out from their houses.

Jose Atienza, Jr. of DXDB reported that motor vehicles were able to cross flood waters around 7p.m. Saturday.

The CSWDO distributed relief goods to affected families in both villages but dela Torre said aside from food, the residents actually needed sleeping mats, blankets, clothing, and drinking water.

The two villages figure in flash floods almost every year.

In similar floods in June last year, barangay officials noted that Cabangahan appears to be a catchment basin making it prone to flashfloods. Edwin Rara, village chief said this puts 200 of the village’s 649 families at risk, and they may have to be relocated.

Flood waters scoured the foundation of the Bugcaon bridge in Bugcaon, Lantapan, Bukidnon, upstream of the Aglayan and Cabangahan areas. As of Sunday morning only motorcycles were safe to pass by. Other vehicles had to pass through a detour| Bukidnon News photo courtesy of Joel Tagayuna from Lantapan, Bukidnon

Flood waters scoured the foundation of the Bugcaon bridge in Bugcaon, Lantapan, Bukidnon, upstream of the Aglayan and Cabangahan areas. As of Sunday morning only motorcycles were safe to pass. Other vehicles had to pass through a detour| Bukidnon News photo courtesy of Joel Tagayuna from Lantapan, Bukidnon

Village officials blamed the flashfloods on the lack of natural and man-made flood control measures in the uplands, where banana plantations dominate the landscape.

But Rara said last year, the Lapanday Diversified Products Corporation (LPDC) a pineapple plantation’s alleged faulty canals contributed to the flashfloods.

He said the firm operates a 100-hectare pineapple plantation in Purok 3, an upland portion of the barangay.  Village officials said the floods that hit the area over the years were caused by the firm’s land preparation activities.

But Rara clarified that while the firm needed to reroute its canals it can only be “partially blamed” for the flashfloods.

He added that firm officials promised to remove silts in the Cabangahan Creek and in other drainage canals in the barangay that usually clogged.

Alex Ricaforte, LPDC land association supervisor admitted to MindaNews via telephone last year that they have been meeting with the barangay officials about their complaints. He cited that they have already “programmed work to clear the silts” but that they were just overtaken by the flood.

The official said they were also coordinating with barangay officials on the need to reroute their canals.

Rara said they have asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to replace its narrow culverts with bigger ones to prevent clogging.

In the December 2007 floods, Virginia Flores, CSWDO chief cited Cabangahan and Aglayan among three contiguous villages considered as “natural flood planes.”

Flores blamed the floods then on the alleged faulty design of the national highway. She said it was constructed in a way that has altered the course of flood waters from areas with higher altitudes. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)