Flood, evacuation triggered by heavy rains in Eastern Visayas

Manila, Philippines – Continuous rains have triggered flooding in Eastern Visayas, leaving major roads impassable, and driving residents to evacuation centers, and eventually leading to the suspension of work and classes in several areas of the region on Wednesday.

A report from the Philippine News Agency quoting the Office of the Civil Defense said based on initial information, at least 1,800 families or 7,200 persons have been displaced by widespread flooding this week in the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

In its latest situational report, Samar reported 10,233 evacuees in Catbalogan City and nine other towns.

The OCD is still consolidating reports from local governments on how many families moved to evacuation centers or to safer grounds.

The Department of Public Works and Highways said flood waters and landslides have blocked major roads in Leyte and Samar because of rains dumped by a low-pressure area and the northeast monsoon.

Also, the overflowing river in Santol village in San Miguel town, Leyte rendered the highway impassable to light vehicles. The road network links San Miguel and Babatngon town in the northern part of Leyte.

In Eastern Samar, the road in Malinao and Binaloan villages in Taft town became impassable to all types of vehicles due to flooding. The road section forms part of the highway that connects Samar and Eastern Samar provinces.

Also closed due to flooding was the Catmon Detour Bridge within the highway that links the town of Biliran and Naval in Biliran province. The Catmon bridge is now under repair.

For two days in a row, the road in Bigo village in Arteche town, Eastern Samar has been inundated with a 1.4-meter-deep flood water.

The low-lying road forms part of the highway that links the provinces of Eastern and Northern Samar.

Several local government units have extended on Wednesday the suspension of work and classes due to heavy downpour this week.

In Leyte, the order to hold off work and classes remained in place in the towns of Palo, Jaro, Tanauan, Burauen, Tunga, Barugo, Alangalang, Leyte, Capoocan and Dagami.

In Northern Samar, Governor Edwin Ongchuan also extended the suspension of classes in all levels in both public and private schools.

“I leave it to the discretion of the mayors for the possible work suspension, in their respective jurisdiction,” Ongchuan said in a statement.

The provincial government of Samar has also issued an order suspending work and classes in the province.

In Biliran, mayors in eight towns also issued similar executive orders to ensure the safety of workers and learners.

In Eastern Samar, classes were also suspended in the towns of Dolores, Llorente, Maydolong, General Macarthur, Jipapad, San Julian, Taft and Borongan City.

Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone asked residents to stay alert since the bad weather experienced in the past few days is “expected to worsen in the next few days.”

“Local government units should evacuate to safer and higher grounds those who is in flood-prone areas,” the governor said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration raised a red rainfall warning in Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar and Samar.

A red rainfall advisory is issued when rainfall is more than 30 mm. within one hour or if it has continued for the past three hours and is more than 65 mm.