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2 died in wet Christmas in parts of Visayas, Mindanao

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Two people died while six others were rescued in Southern Leyte after their fishing boat capsized on Sunday as several areas in Visayas and Mindanao were flooded on Christmas Day, with heavy rains and strong waves generated by the shear line and the northeast monsoon or “amihan.”

X’MAS DAY FLOODING. Rescuers brave chest-high floodwaters in different barangays in Tudela, Misamis Occidental on Christmas Day on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. Misamis Occidental Police Provincial Office Facebook page

Local police said the sea mishap in Barangay Manglit, Pintuyan, Southern Leyte happened past 3 a.m. on Sunday, claiming the lives of two fishermen.

This developed as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) kicked off relief operations in areas in Visayas and Mindanao affected by flooding.

In a news release, Malacañang said the relief operations were ordered by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

DSWD field offices in Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao started distributing family food packs on Sunday to flood-hit residents of Eastern Samar, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, and Bukidnon.

Eight fishermen, who are residents of San Antonio Village in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, were at sea when big waves capsized their boat despite being anchored just 100 meters away from the shore.

Six of the fishermen were safely rescued and brought to the Pintuyan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the police added.

Parts of Nasipit town in Agusan del Norte and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental were also flooded after heavy rains and rough coastal conditions.

Gladys Mae Yeke, a resident of Barangay 18-A in Gingoog City, told ABS-CBN News they experienced knee-high floods on Saturday.

“For 35 years, first time to experience Christmas that our whole house was flooded. Still a Merry Christmas for the whole family,” she said.

The Gutierrez family from Barangay 1 in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte also two-foot-deep flooding as strong waves brought seawater into coastal villages.

“Our Noche Buena wasn’t OK because we had to mind the flood and the strong waves,” Rusty Mark Gutierrez shared.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had warned that the northeast monsoon will bring moderate to strong wind speeds moving northeast, and moderate to rough coastal water conditions in Luzon, Visayas, and the eastern section of Mindanao.

Grace Subon, DSWD regional director in Eastern Visayas, said 32,458 individuals were affected by flooding in six towns in Eastern Samar (Jipapad, Oras, Arteche, Mercedes, Taft and Giporlos) over the holiday weekend.

She said they have been coordinating with the municipal governments for the distribution of 45,000 food packs and P10 million in standby funds.

Ramel Jamen, DSWD regional director in Northern Mindanao, said they have also started giving out food and non-food relief items to at least 9,342 families or 45,687 individuals in the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, and Bukidnon.

Of those affected, Jamen said 9,256 families or 45,242 individuals remained in evacuation centers as of 3 p.m. Sunday.

Some parts of Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte experienced heavy rains on Saturday night, the state weather bureau said.

Strong winds also forced the Philippine Coast Guard stations in Surigao del Norte and Siargao Island to temporarily suspend sea travels.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) dispatched personnel to Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte as families were rescued in the villages of Mahanub, Villaflor, Ipil, Cambo-ayon, and Poniente with the help of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO).

“Rescue operation is still ongoing, and we are still determining the number of families affected by floods in these barangays,” BFP-Gigaquit said in a statement.

The Surigao City DRRMO conducted an emergency evacuation operation at around 2 a.m. Sunday in flooded areas of Sitio Dolong and Sitio Baybay Magallanes in Barangay Washington transferred a senior citizen, two women, and two children to a temporary shelter.

The CDRRMO also rescued a woman, a teenager, and two dogs in Purok Sampaguita, Barangay Taft.

In Agusan del Norte, BFP-Jabonga said it is still determining the number of affected families as of press time.

In Llorente, Eastern Samar, eight families had to spend Christmas Eve in evacuation centers because their houses were flooded, according to Shirley Valdez of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

“There were families who spent Christmas Eve here in the evacuation centers, but others like those in Barangay Naubay, they spent Christmas in other houses,” she said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

Valdez said their MDRRMO head ensured that all affected residents would be evacuated from their homes before the flood rose.

She said no one from their area was hurt or missing due to the flooding incidents.

“Yesterday, schools and churches in Barangay Naubay had neck-deep floods. Their national highway was also impassable for several hours,” she recalled.

“In Barangay Antipolo, we couldn’t pass the roads, especially those going to three barangays which were really isolated…because the bridge was impassable,” she added.


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