Agence France-Presse
First Posted 12:06:00 02/21/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Floods, triggered by over a week of heavy rains, have left 14 people dead and six injured in the provinces of Eastern Samar and Leyte in Eastern Visayas, Albay in the Bicol region, and Capiz in Western Visayas, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Thursday.

The floods also affected 339,736 people or 69,176 families, of which, 288,782 people or 59,338 families had to be brought to evacuation centers, the report said.

In Albay alone, Governor Joey Salceda said 6,263 families or 33,068 persons had been evacuated as of late Thursday afternoon, although these figures did not include Oas, Pio Duran, Rapu-Rapu, Bacacay and Ligao City, which had not submitted any reports.

Ten of the fatalities, including two girls aged eight and nine, were from Eastern Samar, the worst hit by the floods, OCD spokesman Anthony Golez said in a report.

Two people drowned in Leyte while Capiz and Albay each reported one death each, from electrocution and drowning, respectively, Golez said in the OCD’s 3 p.m. report.

The floods have caused P68.9 million in damage to agriculture and P483 million in damage to infrastructure in the Eastern Visayas, the report said.

Salceda urged Albay residents to be prepared to fight what he described as a “guerrilla type” of disaster.

“We are facing a new variant of disaster with many small incidents erupting sporadically when there are no major weather disturbances except continuous rains,” he said, warning that the rainfall accumulation could reach 915 millimeters in one month, a new high in Albay history.

Classes in the province have been suspended until further notice.

The heavy rains were due to the tail-end of a cold front over Southern Luzon and the Eastern Visayas, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 5 p.m. bulletin.

The waters destroyed roads and bridges as well as farm land, cutting off access to at least 322 villages, Red Cross spokeswoman Pam Domingo told Agence France-Presse.

One C-130 military transport plane was flying emergency food and clothing to Tacloban airport in Leyte with army trucks delivering supplies to nearby Samar, the civil defense office said in a statement.

Two army battalions were drafted for rescue and evacuation operations in Samar, which accounted for about half the affected population, it added.

Ephraim Aguilar, Inquirer Southern Luzon; AFP

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