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2 killed, 1 missing in floods, 48 people rescued in Ormoc

TWO PEOPLE were killed and another one feared dead after flashfloods hit several towns in Leyte Province on the morning of December 27, also damaging houses, crops and infrastructure in the process.
Here in Ormoc City, no casualties were reported but some 48 people had to be rescued from the flood-prone Sitio Noah in Brgy. Liloan after rising waters engulfed their small community, threatening to wash away their homes. To recall, a similar rescue was done in the same place last October 11 after 14 families were endangered by rising waters, the aftermath of a typhoon that struck the country then.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development regional office has reported that the December 27 flooding has affected 53,446 persons in 104 barangays or about 10,669 families in at least 11 towns.
The fatalities
The fatalities of the December 27 flooding were identified as Jassen Bacate, 5, of Brgy. Los Martires in Dagami, Leyte and Isabel Matol, 80, of Brgy. Buntay in Abuyog, Leyte, who both died of drowning.
The octogenarian’s body was found inside their house. Relatives admitted to forgetting about her in their frenzy to leave the house at the height of the flooding.
Families of both victims got P10,000 each in financial assistance from the Eastern Visayas Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council which was handed personally by Rey Gozon, Office of Civil Defense director.
The other victim who remains missing as of press time is April Jake Eyas, 12, from Brgy. San Miguel, Tanauan, Leyte. The victim, together with five friends, were reportedly crossing the mouth of the Canbatista River to watch the opening of the Skimboarding Competition when strong currents swept the away. Five boys were rescued by the rescue team of the municipality except for Eyas.
Director Gozon said he had already requested the Philippine Navy to help in the search and rescue operation for the missing victim.
Take announcements seriously – PAGASA
Pag-Asa, on the other hand, reiterated its call to the public to take announcements about disaster preparedness seriously, and to constantly check for information from them in times of abnormal weather like the rains brought about by a low pressure area (LPA) in Mindanao.
They also reiterated the warning to evacuate immediately if living in flood prone areas or if advised to.
Pag-asa also reminded the public to keep food stocks, battery operated radio and flashlight, spare batteries, loaded and fully charged cell phones, emergency cooking equipment, candles, matches and first aid kits in case of emergency.
Disaster preparedness mitigated damage –
Leyte governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, on the other hand, lauded the disaster preparedness of various LGU’s affected by the December 27 floods as having reduced its threat to lives and properties.
The governor, along with board members, personally inspected and monitored the situation of badly hit barangays in affected towns on December 27 and had to cancel important social engagements like the coronation of the Baybay City Queen of 2011 scheduled in the evening.
He also acknowledged with gratitude the donation of more relief packages from the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. headed by businessman Willy Julio, the Tacloban Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. headed by Jack Uy and the Philippine Red Cross.
The turnover of donations was held on December 29 at the SMED Building at the Capitol Grounds and were received by Petilla, Vice Governor Mimyet Bagulaya and Board Member Roque A. Tiu.
On December 29, Governor Petilla distributed relief goods in the affected barangays of Tanauan, Leyte and Tolosa, Leyte.
The governor also cited the prompt action of the local disaster risk reduction and management councils in preventing greater damage to lives and properties that could have been brought about by the intermittent rains in the province.
“The disaster councils are better prepared this time”, he said when he called for an early morning meeting of the Leyte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on December 27 in order to map up rescue operations in the municipalities requesting for help.
The four early warning stations in Tingib, Dagami, Palo and Tanauan have reached Alert Level 3 in the morning of December 27 and because of this, preemptive evacuations were conducted by the concerned local disaster councils, it was learned.
He noted that flooding also occurred in Abuyog, Dagami, Palo, Tanauan, Javier, Ormoc, Jaro, Dulag, Tolosa, among others.
In Baybay City, the river at Candadam also rose to dangerous levels, overflowing the concreted embankment but immediately subsided. Some low-lying areas of the city were also submerged in knee high waters which the locals blame on natural esteros being blocked by buildings and garbage.
Inopacan town also held an emergency session in the afternoon of December 27 to discuss the possibility of putting at least four barangays – Linao, Guinsanga-an, Mara-o and Kan-angay – under state of calamity. Mayor Silvestre Lumarda and vice mayor Rogelio D. Pua Jr. were personally present at the town hall to oversee the needs of their constituents.
Affected areas
The affected towns in Leyte are San Miguel with 2,000 families comprising of 10,000 persons in 16 barangays; Alangalang with 300 families or 1500 persons; Abuyog with 697 families or 3,485 in 14 barangays and with one dead; Tanauan with 150 families or 750 persons, one missing and another one injured; Tolosa with 100 families or 500 persons; and Javier with 1,797 families or 8,985 persons.
Also affected were 2,422 families or 12,110 persons in the municipality of Mayorga; 130 families or 650 persons in the town of Palo; and 81 families with 506 persons, and 9 totally damaged houses in the municipality of Tabontabon.
The most affected town is Dagami with 2,833 families or 14,165 persons in 26 barangays, 1 dead, and 6 injured. Abuyog, Leyte declared the entire municipality under a State of Calamity to facilitate the use of DRRM Fund to support the affected families, damage to crops and infrastructures.
In Southern Leyte, the municipality of Saint Bernard reported 159 families or 795 persons affected.
The flooding brought about by the LPA caused the evacuation of 3,725 families in the 49 barangays of 11 municipalities, ten from Leyte and 1 from Southern Leyte.
As of 8:00 o’clock in the morning of December 29, all evacuees from Palo, Leyte, already returned to their respective houses as flooded, also the evacuees in Saint Bernard, So. Leyte except those from Brgy. Tabontabon.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture reported damage to agriculture but said it is ready to distribute certified seeds to affected farmers. For their part, the Department of Public Works and Highways continues to repair roads that were damaged by the flooding. PIA reports

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