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Elderly woman drowns, 1,000 houses damaged in Samar

Strong winds and rain from Typhoon Hagupit pound an empty port in Legazpi, Albay province, eastern Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Typhoon Hagupit slammed into the central Philippines’ east coast late Saturday, knocking out power and toppling trees in a region where 650,000 people have fled to safety, still haunted by the massive death and destruction wrought by a monster storm last year. AP/Aaron Favila
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—An elderly woman reportedly drowned in Catarman town, Northern Samar where at least 1,000 houses were damaged by storm surges spawned by Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit).
Jonathan Baldo, Municipal disaster risk reduction officer of Catarman, identified the victim as Luz Cuanico, 75, of Barangay Banquerohan Catarman town.
He said waist-deep floods were reported in several villages in said town.
“We have 14,000 families or 61,589 individuals who were evacuated at the town auditorium, Cathedral church and senior citizens building,” Baldo said.
Floods were also reported in Catubig and Lope de Vega towns, according to Alex Ong, nephew of Northern Samar Governor Jose Ong and chief of staff of his father, Representative Emil Ong.
Rescue operations in and gathering of reports from  Northern Samar and Eastern Samar were hampered by poor communications after telecommunications giants – Globe and Smart – lost signal starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Yolly Crisanto of Globe said in a text message that the telecommunication firm conducted a preventive maintenance but gave assurances that restoration activities would start as soon as possible.
Blackout was also reported in the two Samar provinces after several electric posts had toppled due to the strong winds spawned by Ruby.
In  Borongan City, Eastern Visayas, floods were up to the chest level but had slowly subsided as of Sunday morning.
But travel to o Dolores town, where Ruby had its first landfall, was difficult due to fallen trees and electric posts that blocked the roads.
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