Tropical storm Urduja weakens, but thousands remain stranded


Tropical storm Urduja has slightly weakened and is now traversing the northern part of , state weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said this afternoon (Saturday, December 16).

Urduja made landfall Saturday afternoon in the vicinity of San Policarpio, Eastern Samar.

The storm was last eyed in the vicinity of San Jose de Buan, Samar. It packs maximum sustained winds of 75kph near the centre, and gustiness of up to 120kph; heading west at 15kph.

Scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains will continue over Bicol Region and , and is expected to prevail over southern Quezon, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon, PAGASA said.

Tropical cyclone warning signal no. 2 was raised over Sorsogon and Masbate including Ticao Islands, Romblon, northern Samar, the northern part of Eastern Samar, the northern part of Samar, Biliran, Antique, Aklan, Capiz and northern Iloilo.

Southern Quezon, Marinduque, southern part of , southern part of Oriental Mindoro Catanduanes, , Albay , Burias Island, Northern Palawan, Cuyo Island, Calamian Group of Islands, rest of Iloilo, rest of Samar, rest of Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, northern part of Negros Oriental, northern Cebu and Leyte are under TCWS no. 1.

Sea travel remains risky over the seaboards of these areas, PAGASA said.

Thousands stranded

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said more than 11,000 passengers were stranded in seaports across the as Urduja continues to move closer to the northern-eastern Samar area Saturday.

In its latest advisory, the PCG said that 11,101 passengers were stranded in ports in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas.

At least 1,322 vessels, 52 rolling cargoes and 33 motor bancas cancelled their trips as “Urduja” unleashes its wrath over the Eastern Visayas region this weekend.


North Samar state of calamity

The provincial government of Northern Samar placed the entire province under a state of calamity on Thursday night as heavy rains flooded several villages.

Provincial disaster risk reduction and management officer Rei Josiah Echano said flooding has affected 131 villages and forced 10,669 individuals to flee.

“With the way the storm was traversing the place, it would take two to three days before would be allowed to return to their homes,” Echano said.

Severe flooding has been recorded in the towns of Catubig, Gamay, San Jose, Laoang, Lope de Vega, Las Navas, and Mondragon.

Earlier, the town of Catarman and Catubig also declared a state of calamity as the storm intensified and dumped more rains in Eastern Visayas.

The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 defines a state of calamity as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”