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‘Ursula’ disrupts Christmas festivities in Eastern Visayas

TACLOBAN CITY – After three landfalls of Typhoon Ursula in Eastern Visayas on Christmas eve, a still undetermined number of families were left homeless because of strong winds and heavy rains, and some areas remain isolated with electricity and communication lines down.

In Tacloban City, houses near the shoreline in Anibong District were swept by huge waves. A fire broke out in the midst of the typhoon in Brgy. 66, leaving 13 houses totally damaged and 6 houses partially damaged. Vice-Mayor Jerry Yaokaisin said the victims lamented that they suffered two tragedies at the same time – a typhoon and fire. There were no casualties reported.

Reports of storm surges at Peerless Village and in the vicinity of Ritz Tower de Leyte have been confirmed by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction 8, too. 

Several people, particularly last-minute shoppers and store employees were stranded in the downtown area of Tacloban because of severe flooding, no transport facilities available, falling debris and electric posts.

Meanwhile, the Tacloban Doctors Hospital’s roof has been blown off by the typhoon along Cong. Mate Avenue (Rizal Ave Ext). 

In Eastern Samar where the typhoon first landed, many government infrastructures were also damaged, such as the town hall and gym of Salcedo, Eastern Samar according to Councilor Krystelle Joy Palconite.

Salcedo Mayor Melchor Mergal said before the landfall, strong winds and heavy rains were already felt within the vicinity as early as 3:15 PM. 

“Surprisingly, the wind weakened and there was fair weather. Practically there was calm condition. Then at around 5:30 strong winds started again,” he shared. 

The local government unit is now conducting a Rapid Damage Assessment.

In Biliran Province, Caibiran Mayor Rhodessa Delante Revita reported strong winds and rising up of seawater in her town. Roofs of some houses in Kawayan town were also reportedly blown off by strong winds.

In addition, the Tacloban-Naval, Biliran road, Ormoc-Naval, Biliran road, Biliran, Biliran-Naval, Biliran road, and cross country road in Biliran province are still not passable.

As of December 24 evening, at least 3,000 passengers have been stranded in Northern Samar, Leyte and Southern Leyte following the suspension of air and sea travels. The Northern Samar Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) reported that 2,408 passengers – all bound for Luzon – had been stranded since Monday at the three ports in Allen town due to bad weather spawned by Ursula. By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio

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