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61,000 still staying in evacuation centers in Caraga

Children wade through flood water in Barangay Baan Riverside, one of 22 villages hit by severe flooding in Butuan City. Contributed photo

More than 61,000 people remained in temporary shelters and evacuation centers in Butuan city and other parts of Caraga region on Wednesday, a week after they left their communities when these were submerged by flood water.

Heavy rain brought about by the tail end of a cold front and a low pressure area (LPA) flooded communities, particularly those along the Agusan River, preventing evacuees from returning home.

Eunice Montaos-Plaza, spokesperson of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Caraga, said relief operations continue for 12,799 families (61,280 people) still staying in 208 evacuation centers.

People fled their homes at the height of flooding that killed at least five people and destroyed more than 1,000 houses across the region.

The evacuees came from 19 towns, mostly in the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte, where flood water brought by days of heavy rain had yet to subside, Montaos-Plaza said.

The DSWD released P8 million in assistance to evacuees, with soldiers and policemen helping in the packing and distribution of relief goods.

Montaos-Plaza said the DSWD has been assisting affected local governments in their relief distribution efforts.
The LPA that came in the early part of January and prevailed throughout the month, combined with the tail end of the cold front, dumped heavy rain that triggered widespread flooding in Caraga, forcing thousands of people to flee.

Rosauro Gonzales Jr., Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chair, said the floods damaged P173.2 million worth of roads, bridges and other structures, and P80.7 million worth of crops, mostly rice, corn and vegetables, and livestock.

Gonzales said 1,836 houses were destroyed in the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte.

Butuan officials have also declared the city under a state of calamity after the Agusan River and its tributaries burst their banks, causing severe flooding in at least 22 low-lying villages. By FAC

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