RESCUED. A police officer carries a child after water suddenly swelled in Barangay Limbo, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Monday (April 11, 2022). About 76,131 families have been affected by the continuous rains dumped by Tropical Depression Agaton in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (Photo courtesy of the Sultan Kudarat municipal government)

COTABATO CITY – About 76,131 families have been affected by the continuous rains dumped by Tropical Depression Agaton in two areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Minister Raisa Jajurie of the Ministry of Social Services and Development in BARMM (MSSD-BARMM), said Tuesday at least 48,845 affected families were from 145 villages in 13 towns of Maguindanao.

At least 27,286 affected families consisting of 136,000 individuals were from North Cotabato’s special geographical area, she said.

Jajurie noted that many of the affected families have opted to remain in their homes instead of staying in evacuation centers.

Bai Saruang Kadil, 43, was one of those who refused to evacuate.

“I prefer to stay in our house, although the water level is as high as my neck,” Kadil said as she queued up for emergency food aid from the BARMM government in Pagalungan, Maguindanao.

Aaron Santos, a Maguindanaon from Pagalungan who stayed in a tarpaulin-covered shanty along the Davao-Cotabato highway, shared how difficult it was for his family to endure flooding while observing the Ramadan.

“It is really hard because we are fasting,” Santos said, adding that they are used to flooding but it happening during Ramadan is doubly difficult for them.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM interior minister and spokesperson, said the region’s humanitarian arm has extended emergency aid to affected families in Maguindanao.

The BARMM government and non-government organizations (NGO), including international NGOs, have met to assess the effects of weather disturbance in the region.

No casualty was reported. (PNA)