TACLOBAN CITY – Northern Samar province was placed under a state of calamity on Monday night as heavy rains displaced some 238,322 residents.
In a session late Monday, the provincial board approved a resolution declaring the state of calamity as recommended by the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council (PDRRMC) chaired by Governor Edwin Ongchuan.
In his report, PDRRM officer Rei Josiah Echano said the most affected families are from the towns of Catubig, Las Navas, Catarman, Laoang, Mondragon and Lope de Vega.
Damage to infrastructure was estimated by the provincial engineering office at PHP260 million, with an additional PHP160 million in damage to national infrastructures as reported by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Initially, the provincial agriculture office reported over PHP104.6 million in destruction to agriculture, with half of the local government units in the province reporting devastation to their rice fields.
"In response to this calamity, the provincial social welfare and development office distributed augmentation relief to affected families in the form of food packs and distilled water, starting off at Catubig, Lope de Vega, and San Roque, with other towns in line for its relief operations," the provincial government said.
Other than the approval of the PDRRMC endorsement for the declaration of a state of calamity, Governor Ongchuan, as chair of the PDRRMC, also directed the Department of Trade and Industry in the province to continuously monitor the prices of products and establish control once escalation of prices of basic commodities is observed.
The declaration of a state of calamity will allow the use of the calamity fund to aid affected residents and will control the pricing of basic commodities in the affected areas.
Earlier, eight local government units in Eastern Visayas region declared states of calamity due to massive floods caused by a low-pressure area and the northeast monsoon last week.
These are Eastern Samar province; Calbayog City, Gandara, Basey, and San Jorge towns in Samar province; San Miguel and Santa Fe in Leyte province; and the town of Catubig in Northern Samar. (PNA)