Samar

Thousands of families flee flooded communities in the Visayas, water reaches roofs

Ricky Bautista
Thousands of families flee flooded communities in the Visayas, water reaches roofs

UNDER WATER. Flood water in Barangay Mabini, Basey, Samar reaches the rooftops of houses

SB Vic Labuaac

Rescuers across Samar province and other areas of Eastern Visayas continue late-night rescue of residents

SAMAR, Philippines – At least two municipalities in Samar province declared states of calamity on January 11 after days of heavy rain and widespread flooding. 

The Samar Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) in a 6:30 pm situation report on Wednesday, January 11, said 3437 or more than 17,000 individuals in Gandara town HAD fled their homes for the municipal evacuation center.

The PDDRMO said rain and floods from the shear line and a low pressure area affected at least 4,288 families or nearly 21,000 individuals after the Gandara River overflowed.

In Tacloban, the Office of Civil Defense -Eastern Visayas said around 40,000 individuals around the region were affected.

A resolution signed Aguilar, Vice Mayor Ruby Delector, and six members of the Gandara municipal council noted the possibility of “flashfloods, soil erosion, and landslides and damage not only to agriculture, infrastructure, and properties but also endangering the lives of numerous residents.”

Across Eastern Visayas, disaster units were monitoring coastal areas and communities near rivers or mountain slopes.

AGRICULTURE DAMAGE. Flooded rice fields in Dolores, Eastern Samar, after days of non-stop rain. (PDRRMO Eastern Samar)

In Western Visayas, most towns of Negros Occidental and its independent capital, Bacolod City Classes canceled classes on January 11 due to heavy rain.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecast heavy rainfall overnight in provinces already waterlogged by non-stop rain since Christmas.

Rooftops covered

Basey town also declared a state of calamity as waters reached the rooftops of residences.

After a whole day of heavy rain, rescuers were still hard at it past 10 pm of January 11.

The Samar province disaster office report did not include figures from Basey but MDRRMO chief Rowena Olfato said floods had caused “tremendous damage” to villages.

FLOOD REFUGEES. Residents of a Brgy Mabini, a remote village of Basey, Samar evacuate to the Mabini National High School. Teacher Jonalyn B. Tabuyan

Mayor Luz Chu Ponferrada’s videos of rescue operations showed streets looking like small lakes.

Basey Councilor Vic Labuac said evacuees housed at the Barangay Mabini center would benefit from free WI_FI internet connection and a power generator.

Several towns in Eastern Visayas suspended all classes at all levels and work since Tuesday due to heavy rains and flooding.

In Eastern Samar, the town of Can-avid likewise declared a state of calamity.

While no casualties have been reported, damage to roads and bridges, and farmlands could affect the local economies in Eastern Visayas, which includes some of the country’s poorest communities.

Biliran province reported that floods rendered a key road unpassable.

Northern Samar and Eastern Samar also experienced several road closures to floods and landslides.

– With Jasmine bonifacio/ Rappler.com

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