Eastern Samar

50,000 families in distress as floods swamp Eastern Samar

Alren Beronio, Ricky Bautista

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50,000 families in distress as floods swamp Eastern Samar

ROADS TO RIVERS. Residents of Maslog, Eastern Samar use boats to navigate their streets because of floods on Wednesday, January 13.

Geremy Santiago/LGU Maslog

Governor Ben Evardone appeals for aid in the form of palay seedlings, saying persistent rain has destroyed almost all the province's crops

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar –  Almost 50,000 families or over 170,000 individuals in Eastern Samar have been affected by the latest floods on Wednesday, January 11. 

Ma. Josefina Titong of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) reported on Wednesday night that 16,000 people were in evacuation centers.

Evardone had ordered the cancellation of work and classes from January 11 to January 12.

He called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development to send additional food packs to the stricken province.

He also asked the agriculture department, headed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to provide free certified palay seeds to the province’s farmers.

“Halos lahat po ng mga tanim dito sa Eastern Samar ay nasira po dahil sa matinding baha,” the governor said. (Almost everything planted here in Eastern Samar has been destroyed by severe flooding.)

More rain expected
NO END TO RAIN. Residents of Brgy Siha, Borongan, Eastern Samar have been evacuating and returning to their homes, and then fleeing again for almost two weeks now because bad weather conditions. Borongan CDRRMO

In Samar province, 5,573 families or 25,000 individuals were affected based on its initial and partial status report as of Thursday, January 12, 9 am. In Basey, Catbalogan, Hinabangan, Marabut, Pinabacdao, and Sta. Rita, authorities cancelled work and classes on January 12.

Dolores town in Eastern Samar on January 11 declared a state of calamity, with Mayor Rodrigo “Onoy” Rivera noting almost all its barangays were flooded. 

Basey and Gandara towns in Samar province also separately declared states of calamity.

Cebu, which is holding its Fiesta Señor and Sinulog festivals, and Siquijor and Negros Oriental also came under the red warning.

The towns of Arteche, Jipapad, Oras, Dolores, Maslog, Can-avid, Taft, Sulat, San Julian, Borongan City, Maydolong, Balangiga, Llorente, Hernani, Salcedo, Guiuan, Lawaan, San Policarpo all had areas underwater.

RESCUE. Disaster relief teams bring children and vulnerable adults to safe ground on January 11, 2023 in San Miguel, Leyte. San Miguel LGU

In Leyte, rescue teams of San Miguel town worked until late night to rescue residents, many of them minors.

SWAMPED. A house is almost completely submerged in floodwaters in Can-avid town, Eastern Samar. Can-avid LGU

Many roads, including stretches of the national road going around Samar island, were still impassable as of early Wednesday morning, January 12.

The Sta. Rita portion of the Maharlika Highway opened before noon. But portions of the national road at Malinao, San Pablo and Mabuhay, Taft, and in Bigo, Arteche town were still flooded and not passable to all types of vehicles.

“Wright-Taft Road is still closed to traveling public until further notice due to this reported flooding and possible occurrence of landslide at the Binaloan to Taft stretch,” the PDRRMO added.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Eastern Visayas Director Lord Byron Torrecarion said two landslides each were recorded in Leyte and Northern Samar, but with no casualties.

SHELTER. Evacuees in Maslog town, Eastern Samar crowd an evacuation center while waiting to be assigned rooms. Geremy Santiago/LGU Maslog

The disaster office of Borongan, the capital city of Eastern Samar, said it had to feed more than 18,000 families, including those who remained in their homes but without access to markets or business centers.

The OCD Eastern Visayas on Wednesday afternoon said 3,712 families were affected in Leyte and 2,300 in Samar. 

STAYING PUT. Despite high waters, many residents refuse to leave their homes, forcing relief workers to bring food packs to flooded communities. Geremy Santiago/LGU Maslog

The provinces, however, said their updated figures swamp the numbers of the OCD, which reported only 7,522 families affected in Eastern Samar.

In Northern Samar, two municipalities were without communication lines. No signal was available from any telco in the island of Capul. Other municipalities of the province said telecoms signal was intermittent. – with reports from Jazmin Bonifacio/Rappler.com

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