Latest reports revealed that the recent shear line that heavily- damaged five regions left a total of 44,282 families (166,357 persons) from 385 Barangays, 66 Cities/Municipalities and 18 provinces, of which 32,422 were severely affected in Eastern Visayas on Christmas day, December 25.
The shear line also caused the deaths of 5 individuals while nine others remain missing from different areas in Eastern Visayas.
“Most of our casualties and missing persons are fishermen who left their communities days before the issuance of notice to mariners prohibiting small sea vessels from venturing into the sea,” said Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) regional office information officer Sher Ryssia Saises.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) field office reported landslides in San Miguel and Cansilides villages in Hernani Eastern Samar on Christmas Eve. That same day, heavy flooding closed the major road in Bigo village, Arteche.
“As of Tuesday, all roads are passable to all types of vehicles. Floods subsided and all debris from landslides were already cleared, but we are still monitoring the situation,” DPWH Eastern Samar district engineering office chief Margarita Junia said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) said that despite the number of affected individuals or 8,612 families, so far only represented Eastern Samar, of which only 42 people were recorded to have spent their Christmas day inside evacuation centers.
Two houses were also partially destroyed in Eastern Samar, while two more were totally destroyed after heavy rainfall flooded several residential areas in the province including in Northern Samar.
“May mga nagpalipas na pamilya dito sa evacuation centers, pero ‘yung iba naman po tulad ng Barangay Naubay, is sa ibang bahay sila nag-Christmas,” said Shirley Valdez of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).
Valdez recalled the flood waters have reached neck-deep which took over the schools, churches and the national highway was rendered impassable in the vicinity of Barangay Naubay.
“Ang isang barangay namin sa Barangay Antipolo, ‘yung daanan is hindi namin mapuntahan lalo na 'yung mga tatlong barangay na isolated talaga sila…dahil hindi madaanan ang tulay,” she added.
Fortunately, Valdez said no one from their area was hurt or missing due to the flooding incidents.
Despite the difficult circumstances that the affected residents continue to face, they are still thankful that they can spend another Christmas and another year with their families.
As the Waraynons say- “roofless, homeless but not hopeless.”