Home Residents of Agusan Del Sur struggle for survival a month after devastating floods

Residents of Agusan Del Sur struggle for survival a month after devastating floods

residents of agusan del sur struggle for survival a month after devastating floods

In the aftermath of the catastrophic floods in  Agusan del Sur on January 31, residents of La Flora’s floating village near the banks of the Agusan River in Talacogon continue to grapple with the aftermath, fighting for survival almost a month later.

The floating village, home to about 500 people, has faced significant challenges as freshwater fish, a primary source of livelihood for many families, became scarce after the floods. 

Roselyn Santin, a mother of four, revealed that her fisherman husband struggled to catch mudfish, carp, and tilapia from the once-abundant Agusan River, leaving their family dependent on relief aid from both government and private entities.

While Santin and her neighbors received relief food packs containing essentials like rice and canned goods, concerns about the longevity of this assistance persist. 

Alma Miflores, another resident, expressed uncertainty about future aid despite receiving relief packages from Emcor Appliance Center.

The floating houses, constructed on bamboo and balsa wood platforms tethered with sturdy ropes and vines around Bangkal trees, withstood the powerful currents during the floods. 

However, the La Flora Elementary School, situated on dry ground near the floating houses, faced severe inundation. The school, built at least 10 feet above the ground to anticipate floods, saw water levels surpassing its elevated floor during January’s flooding.

Antero Atad, the school’s head teacher, described the recent flood as the worst in the area in his 16 years as a public school teacher. 

Despite the challenges, teachers at La Flora held classes at evacuation centers in the last two weeks while awaiting the waters on the school grounds to recede.

The floating village constitutes half of La Flora village’s population, with the other half residing on land but owning rafts for safety during floods. 

According to the Agusan del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, a total of 392,947 people, or 53% of the province’s population, were affected by the January 31 flooding.

Governor Santiago Cane Jr., during President Marcos’s visit to the province on February 16, indicated that it typically takes over a month for floodwaters to recede and normalize in Agusan del Sur based on historical patterns.

In response to the ongoing challenges, Antero Atad, a member of the Search and Rescue Agusan del Sur (Saras), plans to conduct survival skills training for students and teachers during the upcoming summer vacation and the new school year in July. 

The training will encompass swimming and water survival, aiming to enhance the preparedness of residents and students for future disasters like flooding.

Sources: (1), (2)

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