By URIEL C. QUILINGUING, Contributing editor
and NITZ ARANCON, Correspondent .
THE tropical depression-enhanced southwest monsoon brought heavy rains and caused widespread floodings that forced thousands of families to evacuate to safer grounds in Lanao del Norte since Monday.
The Lanao del Norte police said at least 20 thousand people so far have fled their homes in search for safer grounds.
Maj. Salman Saad, Lanao del Norte police spokesperson, said floodwaters forced 3,938 families in 42 barangays of five municipalities to seek safer grounds as of 9 am yesterday.
Saad said data from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office showed affected families in Kapatagan (1,637), Sapad (634), Lala (511), Salvador (159), and Sultan Naga Dimaporo (97).
“Most of them are in municipal and barangay courts since Monday evening,” Saad said.
Saad said 38 houses were reported to have been swept away by floodwaters — 27 in Lala, seven in Sultan Naga Dimaporo and four in Sapad.
He said provincial and municipal social welfare offices have been giving emergency food packs to the evacuees.
Classes were suspended in five affected municipalities since Monday.
He said the power supply was cut off in Sultan Naga Dimaporo Tuesday after three electric posts, with weakened foundations, gave way to strong winds.
The highway which passes through the flooded areas remained passable to commuting public since this was on higher ground, he said.
Camp Alagar however gave different figures. Its spokesman said communities were submered in floodwaters in at least 29 villages in five Lanao del Norte towns due to a localized thunderstorm wrought by the hanging habagat that was strengthened by tropical depression “Falcon.”
Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa, police spokesman for Region 10, said the hardest hit were at least a dozen barangays in Sapad town: Poblacion, Mala, Salug, Maito Salug, Induran, Pili, Dansalan, Lower Sapad, Panoloon, Pandian, Maporog and Karun.
Hortillosa said five barangays were also adversely affected in Lala town: barangays Darumawang Ylana, Lanipao, Maranding, Tenazas, ug Pinuyak.
In Sultan Naga Dimaporo, two hardest hit barangays are Poblacion and Bauyan while in Kapatagan, 10 barangays saw floodings in Poblacion, Marandig Annex, De Asis, Sto. Tomas, Concepcion, Bagong Silang, Balili, Lapinig, Cuuvada, and Sta. Cruz.
Hortillosa said there are also areas in five barangays in Salvador town that were submerged in water.
He said some 2,860 families were adversely affected in Sapad town, 634 in Lala town, 511 in Sultan Naga Dimaporo town, 104 in Kapatagan, and 159 Salvador.
Hortillosa said many of the flood victims have sought shelter in 20 evacuation centers: six centers in Lala, 11 in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, two in Kapatagan, and another one in Salvador.
There are reports that the floodings damaged houses, public infrastructure, and farms.
Camp Alagar said widespread damages were reported in the Lanao del Norte towns of Sapad, Lala, Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Salvador, and Kapatagan.
Hortillosa said one person died while another was hurt while trying to salvage family belongings.
Camp Alagar recorded 15 houses destroyed by rampaging floodwaters in Sapad, two in Lala, and seven in Sultan Naga Dimaporo.
Brig. Gen. Rafael Santiago, police director for Region 10, fielded police officers to Lanao del Norte to help in search, rescue and relief operations.