SAFER GROUNDS. Homeowners in Barangay Buliok, Pagalungan, fled to higher grounds as water levels continue to rise after the Pulangi and Tunggol rivers overflowed due to heavy downpours over the weekend in Bukidnon and North Cotabato. Maguindanao residents (right) board a rescue vehicle as their areas served as catch basin of floods from surrounding upland provinces. (Photo courtesy of Pagalungan LGU)

COTABATO CITY – More than 5,000 families in two adjoining towns in Maguindanao have been displaced by floods spawned by weather disturbances affecting Mindanao over the past two days.

In Datu Montawal municipality alone, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Balumol Cadiding said Monday that more than 25,000 families in the town’s 11 barangays had been affected.

A two-day heavy downpour hit some areas in Bukidnon and North Cotabato with the water flowing downstream toward Maguindanao via the Pulangi River.

“The water level in Datu Montawal town and nearby areas depend on the amount of rain in Bukidnon and North Cotabato,” Cadiding said in an interview.

“Sometimes, the floodwater easily recedes but this time it has been two days since the flooding started,” he added.

He said the local government is preparing relief aid distribution to families who now occupy the roadsides to avoid floodwaters.

In Pikit town, municipal disaster officer Tahira Kalantongan said an assessment is ongoing to determine the effects of floods in the town’s villages located beside the Liguasan marshland.

The provincial government of Maguindanao is preparing relief operations for affected families while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) in at least eight towns that also experienced floods.

Also flooded area the towns of Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Rajah Buayan, Northern Kabuntalan, Sultan Sabarongis, and Mamasapano.

In North Cotabato, the provincial disaster office reported that floods also affected low-lying communities in the towns of Pikit, Midsayap, Libungan, Pigcawayan, Alamada, Kabacan, M’lang and Tulunan, towns surrounding the Maguindanao marshland. (PNA)