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HomeFront PageBreaking NewsFlooded residents in floating houses in Agusan still grapple for survival

Flooded residents in floating houses in Agusan still grapple for survival

By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur—Flood-stricken residents in the floating village of La Flora of this town continue to grapple with the aftermath of the devastating flooding that struck the province on January 31.

Roselyn Santin, a mother of four, expressed on Friday that their survival hinges solely on relief aid provided by both government and private entities.

Her husband, a fisherman on the Agusan River, struggles to catch sufficient freshwater fish like mudfish, carp, and tilapia, inadequate to sustain their family amidst the scarcity caused by the floods.

La Flora School

“The river seems devoid of fish due to the powerful currents brought by the flood,” Santin lamented in vernacular.

The floating houses, constructed on bamboo and balsa wood platforms tethered with sturdy ropes and vines around bangkal trees, endure the forceful currents during heavy flooding in the Agusan River.

Santin recently received relief food packs from the provincial government, containing essentials like rice and canned goods, but worries about their longevity, hoping for further assistance.

Floating house1

Alma Miflores, another resident, recounted receiving relief supplies containing rice, coffee, canned goods and biscuits from EMCOR Appliance Center last week, but remains uncertain about future aid.

Last month’s deluge submerged La Flora Elementary School, leaving only its roof visible above the waterline.

Antero Atad, the school’s head teacher, described it as the worst flood in his 16-year tas a public school teacher.

Floating house2

Despite building the ground floor ten feet above the ground to prevent flooding, the second floor, including Atad’s office, was submerged by about four feet.

Atad recalled their confidence in the school’s preparedness, storing supplies on tables assuming the floodwaters wouldn’t breach the second floor.

However, they were forced to evacuate to higher ground, with 11 teachers relocating to evacuation centers to continue classes for two weeks until the waters receded at the school grounds.

Floating house3

Governor Santiago Cane, Jr., briefing President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. during his visit on February 16, projected that it would take over a month for the floodwaters to normalize, based on historical patterns in Agusan.

Atad, also a member of the Search and Rescue Agusan del Sur (SARAS), plans to conduct survival skills training for both students and teachers, including swimming, during the upcoming summer vacation and the start of the new school year in July.

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