RETRIEVED. Relatives wrap with white cloth the recovered remains of their loved ones after a Muslim graveyard was washed out by rampaging floodwaters when the Allah River overflowed due to heavy rains on Thursday (Aug. 11, 2022) in Bagumbayan, South Cotabato province. The recovered remains and human bones were later reburied near the affected private Muslim cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Fabiania/MDRRMO Bagumbayan)

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat – Disaster management officials in Bagumbayan town are scouring the Allah River for more cadavers and skeletal remains when floods hit a Muslim cemetery in the area.

Harry John Hurtada, Bagumbayan municipal disaster risk reduction and management (MDRRMO) chief of operations, said Friday that at least 30 remains, including those recently buried, were retrieved downstream of the river that overflowed following heavy downpours in the past days.

Floodwaters submerged low-lying parts of Bagumbayan since Thursday, including the Muslim burial site in Barangay Biwang, due to prevailing inclement weather.

“Our search continues, we are looking for about 10 other cadavers or skeletal remains,” Hurtada said.

The Allah River flows through the Allah Valley leading to the Liguasan marshland passing through the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Maguindanao.

The river originates from upland Lakes Sebu and Holon in South Cotabato. Its tributaries include the Kapingkong River and the Ga-o River and empties into the Maguindanao marshland.

The Allah River Irrigation Project manages the waterway as a source of irrigation for vast rice fields in the adjoining provinces.

MDRRMO personnel, upon consultation with Muslim religious leaders, wrapped with white cloth the recovered remains and buried them not far from the original burial site.

The MDRRMO uses drones to locate other corpses along Allah River.

Datu Mutalib Dudin, the owner of the Muslim graveyard, has appealed to residents to help locate the missing cadavers.

Meanwhile, Bagumbayan Mayor Jonalette de Pedro said about 30 families in Biwang village have been rescued Thursday afternoon when the river overflowed.

Some 400 residents, including those from Biwang, are temporarily housed in the town’s covered court and have been given emergency food assistance by the local government, de Pedro said. (PNA)