3 fishers missing, thousands flee homes due to ‘Urduja’

TACLOBAN CITY – Three fishermen from Eastern Samar province have been reported missing while thousands fled their homes as Tropical Storm Urduja continues to batter Eastern Visayas region Saturday.

In a report from the Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council, the three missing fishermen were identified as Alfredo Berroja from Balangiga town, Rogelio Gamalo from Lawaan, and Pepito Gacho, Jr. also from Lawaan town.

The fishermen went off to sea on Dec. 13 despite advice from the Philippine Coast Guard.

Office of the Civil Defense Regional Director Edgar Posadas said there has been no contact from them for three days.

Flooding and landslide have displaced 94,904 persons in Eastern Samar, Leyte, and Samar provinces, according to RDRRMC.

More than 38,000 persons moved to evacuation centers due to rising flood waters triggered by three days of heavy rains in the region. Of the number, 32,262 are in Eastern Samar, 2,808 in Samar, 2,856 in Northern Samar, and 472 in Leyte.

Severe flooding has been reported in several villages in Calbiga, Basey, Marabut, San Jose de Buan, Jiabong, Pinabacdao, San Jorge, Sta. Rita, and Talalora in Samar; Tacloban City, Carigara, Ormoc City, Palo, Tanauan, Sta. Fe, Alangalang, and Matalom in Leyte.

In Eastern Samar, widespread flooding has been reported in Taft, Maslog, Jipapad, Arteche, Gen. MacArthur, Giporlos, Hernani, San Julian, Llorente, Sulat, Maydolong, Taft, and Oras towns.

The cancellation of sea trip by the Philippine Coast Guard has stranded 2,093 passengers in the ports of Isabel and Bato in Leyte, Liloan and San Ricardo in Southern, and San Isidro and Allen in Northern Samar.

Landslides have been reported along major highways in Tacloban, Matag-ob, Babatngon, and San Miguel in Leyte; Catbalogan City, Daram, Sta. Rita in Samar; Llorente, Giporlos, San Julian, and Maydolong in Eastern Samar; Maasin City and Liloan in Southern Leyte.

In Tacloban, a mother and her child were seriously injured due to landslides.

Tropical Storm Urduja is expected to make landfall over samar islands Saturday afternoon as it continues to move westward closer to Northern Samar-Eastern Samar area.

The center of Tropical Storm Urduja was estimated at 125 kilometers east northeast of Borongan City in Eastern Samar.

The storm has a maximum sustained winds of 80 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 95 kph, moving west at 10 kph.

Tropical cyclone warning signal no. 2 was hoisted over Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, and Leyte.

Under signal no. 1 are Southern Quezon, Marinduque, Romblon, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Northern Negros Oriental, Cebu, Northern Bohol, Southern Leyte, and Dinagat Islands.  Sarwell Meniano with reports from Vic Obaob, Mary Fatima Berongoy, & Jeraldyn Bagasin, OJTs/PNA-northboundasia.com