ARMM monitors oft-flooded Maguindanao amid heavy rains PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 August 2016 14:10

Authorities on Sunday cautioned villagers in enclaves along rivers and swamps that connect to the Liguasan Delta against flashfloods amid heavy rains in Central Mindanao since Friday.

Emergency groups in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in Cotabato City and other parts of Region 12 have also been educating the public for over a week now on earthquake drills meant to save lives whenever there are strong tremors.

A massive earthquake drill was held on Wednesday in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao due to apprehensions by experts on possible movements of a deep tectonic trench under the nearby Moro Gulf that collapsed exactly 40 years ago last August 17 and caused tremors and tsunamis that killed about 8,000 people and left more than 10,000 others homeless.

The office of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao, has asked the police and local Army units to help monitor the levels of water in rivers and swamps in the province.

About half of Maguindanao’s 36 towns are located near the Liguasan Delta, a catch basin for more than a dozen large rivers that springs from forested hinterlands in Sultan Kudarat, Bukidnon, South Cotabato and North Cotabato provinces.

The adjoining Datu Blah Sinsuat and Datu Odin Sinsuat  in Maguindanao and coastal areas in Lanao del Sur, also under the autonomous region, were badly devastated by the killer earthquake that struck Central Mindanao on August 17, 1976.

Myrna Jocelyn Henry, a support staff of ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART), said regional officials have been monitoring since Saturday the oft-flooded areas in Maguindanao, which gets inundated even at the slightest increase in the level of waters in rivers and swamps near the Liguasan Delta.

Henry said the emergency drill initiated last August 17 at the Maguindanao Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the earthquake that devastated central Mindanao involved the local government unit of Cotabato City, rescue and emergency response personnel from the ARMM government and the military.

“It was a show of a very good cooperation among participating outfits. Even Gov. Hataman and members of his regional cabinet where there are the venue of the drill,” Henry said.

She said the activity was a joint initiative of the HEART, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, the Hataman-led Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, different outfits of the United Nations operating in Central Mindanao, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Cotabato City mayor’s office and the Cotabato Regional Medical Center.

The extensive emergency drill was also assisted by the officers from the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine National Police, the Office of Civil Defense-ARMM and medical practitioners from the regional government’s health department.