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Floods force evacuees in Northern Samar town to move

From the town church, evacuees transfer to another evacuation center because of quickly rising floods

PAMBUJAN, Philippines – Hours before Typhoon Ruby's landfall in Eastern Samar, storm surges and flash floods were already observed in Pambujan, one of the Pacific-facing Northern Samar towns in Ruby's path.




Local government officials expect to stay up the night of Saturday, December 6, as they hurriedly evacuated residents in the town church in Barangay 2 to another evacuation center, the new municipal hall.

The emergency evacuation was due to quickly rising floods in the streets near the church. In some areas, floods were waist-high, according to some residents.

Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Chief Junji Pedro said this is because rains swelled nearby Pambujan River which also connects to the sea.

They had not expected such floods which is why they decided to use the church as an evacuation center in the first place.

Steadily through the night, winds gained strength, becoming violent enough to bend steel sheets and bring down wooden electric poles and trees.

Rainfall also increased from the quick bursts it had been earlier that day.

Military personnel, police and local disaster officials walked children, women and senior citizens from the church to the municipal building. Others were picked up using trucks. Men could be seen running through the streets carrying their belongings to evacuation centers.

Officials stood outside houses telling those still inside to begin moving out as floods threatened to rise.

PAGASA senior weather specialist Robert Quinto told Rappler that since early that morning, small storm surges could already be observed in the coastline of Pambujan. But these surges are not yet destructive.

According to Mayor Lino Balanquit, half of the town or 14,290 persons are in 37 evacuation centers spread all over.

Quinto said that with Ruby's current speed, the typhoon's eye could reach the south of Pambujan around 5 or 6 am on Sunday.





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