Shear line sends thousands to evacuation centers in Samar

(Photo courtesy of Northern Samar PDRRMO Josiah Echano taken in Catarman, Northern Samar)
(Photo courtesy of Northern Samar PDRRMO Josiah Echano taken in Catarman, Northern Samar)

TACLOBAN CITY — Thousands of families took shelter in different evacuation centers in various parts of Eastern and Northern Samar provinces due to continued heavy rain brought by the shear line affecting the Eastern Visayas region.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), in an advisory released at 8:00 a.m., Tuesday morning, identified 10 towns in Eastern Samar, 12 in Samar, and eight towns in Biliran under "red warning level."

A red warning level is raised when observed rainfall is more than 30 mm within one hour or if rainfall has continued for the past three hours and is more than 65 mm which means serious flooding is expected and residents should be ready to evacuate to safety.

The PAGASA Regional Services Division advisory, however, did not mention any warning level in Northern Samar province which is now experiencing unprecedented flooding where waters in some areas have reached the roof of many houses. The rainfall warning is based on current radar trends and all available meteorological data, the PAGASA advisory explains.

Josiah Echano, provincial disaster risk reduction and management officer of Northern Samar, said the continued flooding affected at least 370,000 individuals in the towns of Catubig, Lope De Vega, Bobon, Catarman, Rosario, Silvino Lubos, Mondragon, Pambujan, San Roque, Las Navas, Palapag, Gamay and Lapinig.

Echano said many local government units were caught by surprise by the degree of flooding that the shear line has brought to their respective localities.

"This one is one for the books. We are massively overwhelmed by a great flood brought by the Shear line. Unprecedented is an understatement," he told Daily Tribune.

Echano said rainfall volume is the highest ever recorded in Northern Samar at 618 millimeters as of Monday and still continues to rise.

"We pray for the help of the national government because certainly, the magnitude of this calamity is unprecedented," Echano added.

In Eastern Samar, heavy flooding was also reported especially in the interior towns of Maslog and Jipapad.

Jipapad Mayor Benjamin Ver said he was surprised at the sudden rise of water on Monday due to the heavy rains. Many affected residents have sought refuge at the municipal building, evacuation centers, and at the catholic church.

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