By Masiding Noor Yahya
COTABATO CITY— Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim has placed on Saturday, Oct. 29, the Bangsamoro region under ‘state of calamity’ a day after the Tropical Storm Paeng started wreaking havoc on some parts of the region.
Reports said landslides and flash floods due to the tropical storm have already left 42 persons dead, six bridges damaged, and 142,163 households affected or displaced in Maguindanao, a component of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) divided recently into two provinces.
The situation prompted the Bangsamoro Government to respond quickly by conducting rescue and retrieval operations as well as humanitarian assistance to the flood victims.
“Pinaghandaan ng Bangsamoro Government ang Bagyong Paeng bago pa man ito tumama sa ating rehiyon; Ganyunpaman, ang walang tigil na pagbuhos ng ulan ang nagdulot ng pag-apaw ng mga ilog at dagat na siya namang nagdulot ng landslide at pagbaha,” Ebrahim said.
The Bangsamoro Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center (BDRRMOC) raised the alert level from Code Blue to Code Red yesterday at 10:00 AM and activated the Emergency Operation Centers in the region.
“Pinapahalagahan ng Bangsamoro Governent ang buhay ng bawat mamamayan nito kaya’t patuloy po ang ating panawagan sa mga komunidad na malapit sa mga ilog at dagat na lumikas nang mas maaga sa tulong ng ating mga rescuers patungo sa mga evacuation centers,” he stressed.
The Bangsamoro Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) and the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) are currently responding to the flood-affected residents.
MSSD has provided hot meals to 1,350 individuals and 228 families in Maguindanao Provinces, and 350 individuals in Cotabato City.
MSSD fieldworkers continue to conduct monitoring, assessment, and coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs) for continuous relief operations in the affected areas.
Ebrahim urges the Bangsamoro constituents to be vigilant and reminded them to be steadfast in this trying time. He calls for unity in the face of the disaster amidst the ongoing devastation of TS Paeng.
“Sa aking mga kababayan, ang Bagyong Paeng ay isang malaking pagsubok na ating malalagpasan kung tayo ay magkakaisa […] hinihingi namin ang inyong kooperasyon at sabay-sabay tayong manalangin ng agarang paghupa ng kalamidad na ito,” the Chief Minister said. (With story from Aisah Abas/BIO)