Eastern Samar

Eastern Samar declares state of calamity, flood enters evacuation center

Ricky Bautista

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Eastern Samar declares state of calamity, flood enters evacuation center

SPECIAL SESSION, The Sangguniang Panlalawigan meets with local officials and disaster teams before approving a resolution declaring a state of calamity in the entire province.

Chinchin E. Goteesan

Calbayog City and San Jorge town in Samar province also approve state of calamity resolutions, following Basey and Gandara towns

BORONGAN, Philippines – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar unanimously approved in a Special Session on Friday, January 13, a declaration of state of calamity.

The provincial legislators met on the request of Governor Ben Evardone who said on January 12 that the short and medium term prospects for the province were dire.

Vice Governor Maricar Goteesan presided over the proceedings. Eastern Samar Representative Maria Fe Abunda and various municipal disaster chiefs were also present. Evardone met earlier in the day with local disaster officials of 18 affected towns.

Evardone’s initial estimate of 50,000 affected families or 170,000 individuals  rose to 72,000 families or almost 250,000 individuals as the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRM0) updated reports from local governments on January 13.

As of 11 am, January 13 the province had 5,738 families or more than 21,000 persons still staying in evacuation centers.

The Department of Education provincial information officer Abner Aclao said 92 schools reported floods.

Binaloan Elementary School in Taft, Eastern Samar province remains flooded on January 13. DepEd Eastern Samar

In Calbayog City, Samar, the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed on the same day a resolution declaring the city under a State of Calamity.

The resolution said 9,317 families in 58 barangays, more than 15% of the population, were affected by floods and in need of immediate aid.

Golda Meir Tabao, information officer of the Samar (PDRRMO), said the municipality of San Jorge, also in Samar, approved a similar resolution. The town declared that 19% of the population was affected and reported more than 50% loss in agricultural output.

Earlier, the Samar towns of Basey and Gandara had approved their state of calamity resolutions.

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Long haul

The biggest hurdle in Eastern Samar will come after the floods subside.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist said the sector suffered losses of P208.7 million, with 6,748 hectares under water and 6,599 farmers affected in a province considered one of the country’s poorest.

The province’s poverty incidence in 2021 was at 41%. That same year, Samar and Northern Samar, the other two provinces on the Eastern Visayas island, had 37% and 31% poverty incidence, respectively.

Evardone has called on the Agriculture Department, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. heads, to provide certified free palay seeds, saying the province lost almost its entire rice crop.

In the provincial capital of Borongan City, the local disaster body gave an initial report of 319 affected families, but said it expects figures to rise by day’s end.

Continuing rain caused floodwaters to enter the multi-purpose evacuation in Barangay Taboc, where officials said streets were knee-deep in water, according to Este News, an alternative news outfit supervised by the the Borongan Diocese’s Communication Office.

In Barangay Alugan, fisherfolk begged for food aid as weeks of gales and high waves have prevented them from going to sea.

Borongan Mayor Dayan Agda visited Barangay Siha to assess rehabilitation plans for a bridge frequently swamped by water during prolonged rain.

The city’s disaster team also reported a landslide in the same barangay Friday afternoon.

Agda said the city is already processing the release of P27 million in funds to resolve the problem.

The Borongan city government also announced a donation drive for affected communities. The CDRRMO’s initial report said 319 families in Brgy. Siha, 50 families in San Andres, and 65 families in Amantacop need aid. – with Alren Beronio/Rappler.com

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