MANILA, Philippines - Floods caused by a diffused tail-end of a cold front have affected at least 4,246 families in five regions.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Benito Ramos said the figure is more than double the 9,482 persons or 2,053 families reported previously by the NDRRMC.
Most of the affected residents were from Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Davao and the Caraga region. Ramos said 3,202 persons or 753 families are now housed in 21 evacuation centers.
The NDRRMC said floodwaters in Compostela Valley and Northern Mindanao have subsided.
Local disaster management offices have distributed relief goods to evacuees and other affected families.
Ramos said the diffused tail-end of a cold front brought mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms in parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
Widespread rains were experienced in Leyte provinces, Central Visayas and Northeastern Mindanao.
The cold front also caused landslides in San Fernando town in Romblon and in Escalante City in Negros Occidental.
Floods also occurred in parts of Capiz, Leyte, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
Meanwhile, Sen. Loren Legarda said flash floods, landslides and other natural calamities have replaced insurgency as the leading problem in Mindanao.
She said floods and other calamities displaced more people compared to those who were caught in the crossfire between government troops and rebel groups.
“The recent flash floods and landslides in Mindanao have claimed thousands of lives and displaced more families. The ‘Sendong‘ death toll reached 1,257 and affected more than a million individuals, while the landslide in Compostela Valley killed at least 42 persons,” she said.
Legarda, chairperson of the Senate committee on climate change, said both national and local government units should include disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) in their priority programs along with anti-insurgency efforts.
“While the government cannot put aside its anti-insurgency programs in Mindanao, it cannot ignore the pressing need to give equal attention to DRR and CCA,” she said.
She said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration continues to warn of scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms that could trigger flash floods and landslides in the region.
“The gravity and frequency of these disasters demand immediate attention and appropriate action from the national government and LGUs. Our disaster risk reduction and management system needs to be more proactive, coherent, and effective,” she said. – With Edith Regalado - By Alexis Romero