FLOODWATERS brought by non-stop rains from a low-pressure area (LPA) and the shear line reached the roofs of houses in some areas in Eastern Visayas, prompting the authorities to roll out evacuation plans for affected residents on Wednesday, January 11, 2023.

A total of 357 evacuation centers were already established across the region, with 2,767 families or 11,158 individuals staying, as of noon Wednesday.

Total flooded areas reached 168, with 102 without electricity, according to the information released by the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Eastern Visayas.

Dead, missing

On Tuesday, a 34-year-old military personnel drowned after he and his companion onboard a motorcycle were carried away by a strong current that overflowed the concrete bridge while monitoring the area along Barangay Happy Village in San Isidro, Northern Samar.

Authorities identified the victim as Corporal Jerry Palacio, a resident of Mondragon, Northern Samar and an active member of the 43rd Infantry Battalion.

In Maydolong, Eastern Samar, a victim, identified as Winefreda Grafil, was found dead after the boat she was riding towards Sitio Bagong Barrio from Barangay Pinanag-an, Borongan City capsized due to a strong current of the river brought by heavy rainfall on Tuesday.

Another passenger, identified as Carlito Dagumay, remained missing as of Wednesday.

'State of calamity'

In Basey, Samar, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) head and Mayor Luz Ponferrada passed a resolution to the Sangguniang Bayan recommending that the Municipality of Basey be placed under a state of calamity due to severe flooding in many barangays.

In the photos he shared on social media, Basey municipal councilor Vic Labuac said the local government unit had already brought a power generator and free Wi-Fi internet connection for the communication needs of the affected residents at the Barangay Mabini evacuation center.

Severe flooding along national highways was also reported in Sta. Rita, Samar.

On Wednesday, local chief executives ordered the class suspension in Calbayog City, Sta. Rita, and Pagsanghan, among other Samar towns.

In Tacloban City, Mayor Alfred Romualdez ordered the deployment of government trucks to go around the city’s thoroughfares to give free rides to stranded people who were trying to get a ride home, particularly the students, on Tuesday.

Earlier, local volunteers of “Angels on Wheels” car group organized private owners of pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles to offer free rides for stranded passengers going to northern barangays in Tacloban following heavy rains and flooding since Monday evening.

In Northern Samar, Governor Edwin Ongchuan announced the suspension of classes at all levels in the province on Tuesday, January 10, due to heavy rains and floods.

Disaster response

Authorities in Mondragon, Northern Samar, headed by Mayor Lerma Madera, also launched a joint monitoring, rescue, and relief response for the affected residents in the town.

The responding agencies include the local rescue unit, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Army’s Delta Coy, Alpha Coy 43rd Infantry Battalion, 803rd Mobile Company-Regional Mobile Force Battalion in Western Visayas, RADNET5, among others.

Municipal Local Government Operation Officer-Officer-In-Charge Ronalyn Epiz, along with the barangay captains, were also in close coordination with all concerned agencies to ensure that disaster preparedness was in place, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Mondragon.

In Eastern Samar, Governor Ben Evardone ordered the suspension of work in government offices and classes at all levels from January 11 to 12.

“I called on the Department of Agriculture to provide certified rice seeds for the farmers because almost all the crops here in Eastern Samar were damaged due to severe floods,” Evardone said.

In a statement, the governor also called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to deliver food packs for the flood victims, particularly the 12,101 people in evacuation centers.

Heavy flooding were reported in Arteche, Jipapad, Maydolong, and Oras, among other areas in Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, DSWD-Eastern Visayas said 1,720 family food packs (FFPs) prepositioned in the Jipapad municipal facility were distributed by local officials to the affected residents in the town.

From the 657 FFPs that the DSWD-Eastern Visayas augmented, 144 of them were also distributed by the municipal officials of the Sulat, Eastern Samar to the families affected by the severe flooding caused by the LPA.

“To our countrymen affected by severe flooding, let's contact the barangay and municipal government for responding and distributing relief goods to the affected families,” DSWD said.

Road closure

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Wright-Taft-Borongan Road was still closed to traffic, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Eastern Samar District Office.

The agency advised travelers to take the alternate route via the junction Buenavista-Lawaan-Marabut road.

PRO-Western Visayad recorded 23 areas with impassable road conditions.

In Southern Leyte, a landslide due to heavy rain occurred along the provincial road of Barangay Looc, San Ricardo.

In Leyte, classes were also suspended in Babatngon, Alang-alang, Burauen, and Tanauan, among others.

In Biliran, class suspensions were in Naval, Caibiran, Maripipi, Almeria, Kawayan, Cabucgayan, and Culaba.

However, no flights were suspended on Wednesday. (SunStar Philippines)