Northern Samar execs seek aid from national agencies in wake of flooding
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Local officials of Northern Samar are seeking immediate assistance from national agencies as the province struggles with its worst flooding in 30 years.
“We are appealing to our (national) agencies for immediate assistance. We have not seen this kind of disaster in 30 years. This is the worst ever,” said Vice Gov. Gary Lavin of Northern Samar, one of the poorest provinces of the country.
Lavin said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council(PDRRMC) has yet to receive reports on the damage caused by Tropical Depression “Usman” as the flooding has yet to subside.
Once they have received the needed reports, Lavin said the provincial board would then recommend to Northern Samar Governor Jose Ong the declaration of a state of calamity over the entire province.
“Right now, we are still conducting our post-disaster assessment and we are still waiting for their reports. But considering that they knew the real situation, the (affected) municipalities could declare state of calamity by their own,” he said.
Power supply has also yet to be restored in the province with communication lines erratic. These add to the difficulties of the municipal governments in the province in submitting their reports.
Lavin said the town of Lope de Vega needs the most help because it remains isolated.
Of Lope de Vega’s 22 barangays, 20 were flooded. The water level reportedly reached the second floors of several houses in the town which is about 28 kilometers away from the provincial capital of Catarman.
“Governor Ong has to use his own chopper so we can provide (food) relief to the people of Lope de Vega which remains isolated due to flooding,” he said.
Reports from the Office of Civil Defense in Eastern Visayas (OCD-8) said that roads linking Lope de Vega to Calbayog City in Samar and Lope de Vega to Catarman remain impassable due to flooding.
Lavin said that with the flooding, the province’s agriculture sector is expected to most affected.
“It’s our farmers who will really be affected the most because of the flooding,” he said.
As of the second quarter of this year, Northern Samar posted a decline in its palay production as compared to the same period in 2017, records of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
In the second quarter of 2018, palay production in Northern Samar was just 27,369 metric tons or a drop of 9.3 percent from 14,746 metric tons recorded over the same period last year. /muf
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