COTABATO CITY (PNA) – Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim declared a state of calamity in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on Saturday, Oct. 29, due to the devastating effects of severe tropical storm “Paeng.”
Forty fatalities have so far been recorded.
“Some 80 to 100 others are still missing,” Ebrahim said, adding that 31 others were reported injured.
“In our meeting today, we assessed the situation that we need to declare a state of calamity in the region,” the chief minister said during a press briefing here.
“With this, we now instruct all BARMM ministries and offices to extend help to the affected areas," he added.
Ebrahim said Maguindanao province was severely hit by flooding brought about by Paeng's heavy rains in the past two days.
He emphasized that the Bangsamoro government has prepared before the tropical cyclone hit the region.
However, continuous heavy rains triggered landslides, swelling of rivers, and severe flooding, he lamented.
Ebrahim assured his constituents that the Bangsamoro government will extend help to the affected communities.
In an updated situation report, Ebrahim said figures from BARMM-Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) placed the death toll at 40, the bulk of which is in Maguindanao.
AN aerial shot of Barangay Kusiong in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao following the landslide on Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Bangsamoro government)
He said the focus of their current rescue and retrieval operation in Maguindanao is the coastal Barangay Kusiong in Datu Odin Sinsuat town where a landslide occurred and buried a still undetermined number of people.
As flooding hit the barangay, a huge number of residents sought shelter in a local chapel at the foot of Mount Minandar on Friday afternoon, Oct. 28, when the tragedy struck.
“So far, it is in that area where we have many casualties,” Ebrahim said.
BARMM-READi head Naguib Sinarimbo corrected earlier reports that 67 have died in the flooding brought by the tropical cyclone.
“The casualty figures in our data had double entries but we have corrected it,” Sinarimbo, also the region’s concurrent interior minister and spokesperson, said.
He said BARMM-READi data also showed that 115,437 families or some 572,185 individuals have been displaced by the floods.
Aside from Maguindanao, the BARMM also covers the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Marawi, and Lamitan, and the 63 barangays in six towns of North Cotabato. (With a report from Keith Bacongco)