Thousands displaced in E. Visayas by ‘Urduja’

TACLOBAN CITY — Thousands of families have been displaced by widespread flooding as tropical storm Urduja battered Eastern Visayas region in the past two days.

The Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) reported heavy flooding in the towns of Sta. Rita, Jiabong, Basey, Marabut, Paranas, in Samar; Taft, Quinapundan, Salcedo, Gen. MacArthur and Maydolong in Eastern Samar.

About 19,535 families from 10 towns in Eastern Samar have been displaced by heavy flooding with 7,950 families forced to move to evacuation centers.

The incessant rains have triggered flash floods affecting 264 families in Catubig, Northern Samar and 87 families in Pinabacdao, Samar.

Several roads, including a major thoroughfare in Tacloban City, were rendered impassable as flood waters continue to rise Friday.

Two people were injured by landslide that affected traffic flow along Artemio Mate Avenue in Tacloban.

Landslide debris blocked national roads in several areas in Eastern Samar and Southern Leyte provinces, RDRRMC reported.

In Carigara, Leyte, the local government evacuated 18 families living in low-lying Tagak village. In nearby Barugo town, some 45 families moved to higher grounds.

Several toppled trees resulted in the closure of road sections and also damaged power transmission lines in several parts of Leyte, based on the RDRRMC report.

The Philippine Coast Guard reported that hundreds of Cebu-bound and Surigao-bound passengers have been prevented to leave the ports of Ormoc City; Bato, Leyte; Liloan, Southern Leyte; and San Ricardo, Southern Leyte.

The municipal disaster risk reduction management council in Allen, Northern Samar reported that 1,657 passengers were stranded in three ports.

All six provinces in Eastern Visayas suspended classes in all levels in both public and private schools since Thursday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said three provinces in Samar Island are in danger as “Urduja” gets moves slowly closer to the island and is expected to make landfall either morning or afternoon of Saturday.

As of 1 p.m. “Urduja’s” center is at 230 kilometers east of Borongan, Eastern Samar, moving at five kilometers per hour (kph) with a maximum wind of 75 kph and gustiness of 90 kph.

Placed under storm warning signal number 2 are the provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, and Biliran.

Signal number 2 was hoisted over Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Romblon, Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Northern Cebu, Capiz, Aklan, Northern Iloilo, and Dinagat Islands. Roel Amazona with reports from Lizbeth Ann A. Abella/PNA