Most school divisions in Eastern Visayas closed, unreachable

Jee Y. Geronimo

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As of Tuesday, November 12, only school divisions of Northern Samar, Maasin, Southern Leyte and Calbayog have resumed operations

ASAP. Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro says the best way for children to recover is to bring them back to schools as soon as possible. Photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Four days after Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) wreaked havoc on some parts of the Visayas, some areas remain unreachable.

This is why even if majority of school divisions along the super typhoon’s path are already deemed operational, most of those in Eastern Visayas still could not be accounted for.

“Region VIII (Eastern Visayas), which bore the brunt of Yolanda, remains the most severely affected, with only 4 out of 13 divisions operational,” the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Tuesday, November 12.

Eastern Visayas has 4,132 public schools, 58,179 teachers and 1,107,367 students, according to DepEd.

Some typhoon-hit areas have been isolated for days without any means of communication so people could ask for help

The education department told Rappler only school divisions of Northern Samar, Maasin, Southern Leyte, and Calbayog had resumed operations since they began Task Force Yolanda on Monday, November 11. (READ: Task: Locate teachers in disaster areas)

The divisions of Ormoc City and Western Samar remain closed, while DepEd cannot establish “reliable communication lines” with the following divisions:

  • Baybay City
  • Biliran
  • Borongan City
  • Eastern Samar
  • Catbalogan City
  • Leyte Province
  • Tacloban City

On Sunday, Assistant Secretary Rey Laguda, together with the department’s disaster risk and reduction management team, already went to Tacloban City to assess the situation from the ground.

Meanwhile, DepEd said all divisions in regions IV-A (CALABARZON), IV-B (MIMAROPA), V (Bicol), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), X (Northern Mindanao), XIII (Caraga), and the National Capital Region are “considered operational.”

After taking into account the division offices, Education Secretary Armin Luistro instructed all DepEd personnel to look for people next and mind damaged properties later.

“The worst thing is to count buildings and fallen trees and not account for our people,” he said. (READ: Dear Teachers: Stand tall – not for ourselves, but for others)

He reiterated the importance of bringing the children back to school as soon as possible so they can recover “in the best way” – through playing, and participating in activities. 

In his message, he also lauded educators who are “good at this” – at filtering anxiety when everyone else may still be at the state of panic.

“We see things in the point of view of children and we bring light into the darkness. As educators we are the sobering element. We are the calming effect in any crisis. When everything falls, and we have nothing to rely on, we stand tall – not for ourselves, but for others,” Luistro said. –

Get the latest info on the status of areas ( affected by typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.