By Restituo Cayubit
Tacloban City – Tropical storm Urduja has brought destruction to Eastern Visayas and flooded several areas, killing more than 30 throughout the region, reports from the Office of Civil Defense regional office 8 (OCD-8) and Police Regional Office 8 (PRO 8) said here today.
OCD-8 said the storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph with 500 km diameter made landfall over San Policarpo, Eastern Samar on December 16. Scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains has flooded several towns in the region, the OCD 8 said.
PNP Chief Inspector Ma. Bella Rentuaya, PRO 8 regional information officer, told the Manila Bulletin that PRO 8 personnel are still in the monitoring and retrieval operations regionwide.
Rentuaya said that as of 4 p.m. today, the PNP reported that deaths in Eastern Visayas now total
40 wherein 26 deaths in Biliran; six in Leyte, two in Samar, three in E. Samar, two in Ormoc City and one in Tacloban City.
On the other hand, 35 were reported missing. Of these, 27 in Biliran, one in Southern Leyte and seven in Eastern Samar, she added.
According to Rentuaya, the said number may still increase as the PNP personnel are still conducting their monitoring and retrieval operations in the flood- and landslide-hit areas all over the region.
The ODC-8 reported that as of 1:30 p.m,, 14 local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas have already declared a state of calamity.
The provincial governments of Northern Samar and Biliran also declared a state of calamity. The municipal LGUs in the region that declared the state of calamity were Zumaraga in Western Samar; Dolores, Can-avid, Giporlos, Quinapondan, Llorente in Eastern Samar and Oras; Tanauan, Barugo, Sta. Fe, San Miguel in Leyte; and the City of Tacloban.
The OCD-8 reported that there were 1, 883 stranded passengers in several ports in the region, but mostly the stranded passengers were in Jubasan, Allen, Northern Samar.
The storm affected a total of 77,674 people all over the region: 6,578 for Northern Samar; 3,244 for Samar; 48,383 for Eastern Samar; 15,603 for Leyte; and 2,266 for Biliran, OCD-8 reported.