MANILA, June 15, 2011?Continuous southwest monsoon rains aggravated by clogged waterways due to unabated growth of water hyacinths brought untold miseries to Maguindanao and North Cotabato residents, sending thousands to seek shelter in public and private schools and Catholic churches.
Reports from the local social welfare and development office disclosed that 10,398 families in 23 barangays of Cotabato have been affected by floods, although only 1,435 families sought shelter in evacuation centers.
Fr. David Procalla, Cotabato Archdiocesan Social Action Center Director said nearly 400,000 individuals from 17 towns of Maguindanao have also been affected by the floods.
The town of Lambayong in Sultan Kudarat province likewise had 1,697 families (8,485 persons) affected by the disaster.
Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo said he received reports that more than 75% of Cotabato City has been flooded as weather forecasters said rains will continue for the next few days.
â€œWith the continuous rains, the situation would turn worse due to a possible low pressure area which is further worsened by what forecasters describe as inter-tropical convergence zone,â€ the prelate told CBCPNews Wednesday afternoon.
He expects more families to be displaced, the bishop said.
The towns of Kabacan, Pikit and Carmen in North Cotabato have also been submerged due to continuous rains, but other villagers refused to be transferred to evacuation centers.
Bagaforo said they have appealed for assistance to help the evacuees in need of foodstuff, medicines, potable drinking water, mosquito needs, blankets and sleeping mats. The evacuees also need cooking and kitchen utensils.
â€œThe students have begun their fund campaign through the piso-piso drive and parishes have been encouraged to assist flood victims while the ecclesial province will also give its share,â€ the auxiliary bishop explained.
Bagaforo said that the Catholic Church will simply complement local government units, the city and municipal governments and barangay leadership to maximize resources. (Melo M. Acuna)