MANILA, Philippines – Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan), possibly the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall in recent history, left a trail of death and destruction in its wake.
With reports slowly trickling in from the typhoon zone, Eastern Visayas is emerging as the worst-hit area.
The region isn't a stranger to typhoons, but this particular system has brought unimaginable devastation to an already impoverished region.
Here are some facts about Eastern Visayas:
Eastern Visayas is located on the eastern edge of the Visayas island chain, facing the Pacific Ocean. The islands of Samar, Leyte, and Biliran are the main land masses. It covers an area of 21,562.9 square kilometers (2.15 million hectares).
According to the regional office of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the region's terrain is relatively flat near and along the coasts, with the mountainous areas mostly located in the middle portion of Samar and Leyte islands.
The southern and southwestern portions of Leyte are mountainous, while its northern portion is extensively flat. Samar, on the other hand, has a lot of mountainous ranges with forest and deep valleys.
Around 52.2% of the region is forest land.
Officially known as Region VIII, Eastern Visayas has 6 provinces, 12 districts, 7 cities, 136 municipalities, and 4,390 barangays.
Tacloban City is the region's administrative center.
Based on the 2010 census, Eastern Visayas has a total population of 3,880,148. The population for each province is as follows:
Most of the people live in the following cities and towns:
The following are the officials of each province and district of the region, all elected in this year's midterm elections:
Eastern Visayas registers the 3rd highest percentage of poverty incidence among families in 2012, at 37.2%. Percentage per province are:
The Department of Agriculture's 2011 report said agriculture, fishery and forestry accounted for 20.49% of the regional economy.
In that year, palay and coconut were the leading commodities to agricultural production of Eastern Visayas. The region was 7th in palay production and 2nd in coconut production.
The agricultural land area in Eastern Visayas covers 723,048 hectares, or 31% of the region's total land area of 2,325,395 hectares.
In the agency's September report, low volume of fish catch and limited supply of fishery products were noted due to expensive fishing trips and rough seas.
In September, the Department of Public Works and Highways reactivated its "Quick Response Team," which will focus on monitoring flood-prone areas and to undertake clearing of roads from debris, and emergency opening of damaged roads due to slips/slides to at least one lane for regular traffic to pass. - Reynaldo Santos Jr. / Rappler.com
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