27 Drown in Davao City flash flood

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Devastating flash floods have killed at least 27 people and 15 are suspected missing, on the island of Mindanao.

Military officials have said that, of the 27 people reported killed in flash floods that hit Davao City on Tuesday night, were mostly children.

Eleven of the fatalities were from two mainly affected villages —Matina Crossing and Matina Pangi.

On Tuesday night, rains lashed Davao City for 3 hours until early morning Wednesday, spawning a flash flood that brought Matina under water. Worst hit was the Arroyo Compound in Matina Pangi. The villages of Bangkal, Matina Aplaya and Talomo were also badly damaged by the flood.

Some residents were forced to climb onto their house roofs to await rescue. Others braved the floods to look for high ground.

Survivors of the flood reported that the waters rose so quickly that they swallowed entire houses. It happened unfortunately while most of them were asleep in their beds.

Mayor Sara Duterte said the floods left 27 people dead and that at least 15 others remain missing. However, the city social welfare and development office said the number of fatalities are expected to rise higher as bodies are covered from the debris of the flood..

“More than shock, the tragedy left me feeling the loss and the pain of the survivors. I feel for the parents who blame themselves for failing to save their children. I feel the pain of those who suffered from something that is beyond our control,” Mayor Duterte said.

The mayor went on to say, the flood, unlike previous ones, was not triggered by the lingering drainage problems of the city, but by “the overflowing river caused by the heavy rain.”

Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who inspected the affected areas at dawn on Wednesday, said displaced residents desperately needed food, clothing and temporary shelter. He said the city government may declare a state of emergency in the affected villages.

The flood-hit villages are Matina Pangi, Matina Aplaya and Bangkal—all under the Talomo District.

As of late Wednesday the flood had receded, but had left residents with damaged or destroyed houses and in many cases, nowhere to live.

Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC) asked residents to clean their electric sockets of grime before switching on power in their homes to prevent possible electrocution. Although power has now been restored to the affected villages, engineers were still checking flooded areas to make sure it was safe to switch it back on.

The DLPC had switched off power in the affected villages at the height of the flood as a precautionary measure.

The devastating flood had affected some 12,410 families residing in six villages (barangay). Of this number, 1,475 were being temporarily housed in four evacuation centers in the city.

Officials have now put in place rescue teams in possible flood-prone areas within the City, in the event of further possible flooding.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said Thursday the rescue teams kept watch over the affected villages Wednesday night. She went on to say, the City government is continuously monitoring nearby rivers and mountains to see if they may bring further floods to the city.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned of more rains over Mindanao due to an inter-tropical convergence zone. The Philippines are in the grip of a La Niña weather pattern. Two storms – “Egay” and “Falcon” – have dumped heavy rains over most parts of the country in the past couple of weeks, affecting over a million people and destroying millions of pesos worth of property.