A flash flood brought about by heavy rains and thunderstorm on Thursday evening until Friday, 03-04 February 2011, took a toll of scores of houses and lives, mostly on stilts. Thousands of poor people were affected as they were caught by surprise in the wee hours of the night. Hundreds of millions of Pesos worth of properties was also destroyed in what is described as the worst disaster to hit this most impoverished city in over a century.
During the MNLF wars with the government’s Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the city had been burned several times. But, except for the February 1974 war inside the city, which took a toll of scores of Moro Mujahideen, AFP and civilians killed, this is the first time that the combined casualties reportedly reached around 50, all civilians.
Hardest hit by the flood was the village of Alat and Suwah-suwah, as floods from Bud Datu and other uplands converged to wash off houses along the banks of the canal. Concrete fences and walls of a number of houses made of hollow blocks, including the Provincial Governor’s residence were also knocked down. As a result, several expensive household items were either washed away or destroyed in the process. The streets of Asturias and Matada up to city centre around Tulay Mosque are still submerged in knee-deep water, three days later.
The Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) and Office of the Sulu Governor, Hadji Muhd. Sakur Tan, distributed relief goods to the victims thus easing the burden on thousands of homeless who are now housed in relief centres.
The Tubuh Sug Mindanao Association and the Royal Sultanate of Karimul Makhdum based in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, have passed the hat to help relieved the flood victims through the Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam. Other Islamic relief organizations, including Global Peace Mission (GPM) Malaysia and Islamic Relief Agency have yet to send in their relief assistance.
Jolo was saved from further destruction when the tsunami waves from offshore simmered down as they approached/passed by Bangas island for whatever reason.
Bogus sultan crowned in Sabah
The flood in Jolo came immediately after the alleged crowning of a bogus sultan of Sulu in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on Thursday. Although it did not receive the support of many Tausug citizens in Sulu and Sabah, the ‘obscure’ proceedings were fraught with deceit.
Meanwhile, the Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam, under the leadership of Sultan Bantilan Muhammad Muizzuddin II, is consolidating the gains and procuring more documents needed for further resolution of independence from the Republic of the Philippines.
Habib Kerry Abdullah