Biliran placed under state of calamity due to Urduja

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The Biliran government has placed the province under a state of calamity after Tropical Storm Urduja destroyed bridges and caused landslides.

“We have been hit by strong typhoons in the past such as super-typhoon Yolanda, but ‘Urduja’ is the most damaging storm,” said Biliran Governor Gerardo Espina, Jr Monday morning.

“The extent of damage was unexpected with ‘Urduja’s’ maximum winds of less than 100 kilometers, but its heavy rains dumped three days before its landfall was very destructive,” the governor added.

Landslides have occurred in the towns of Naval, Caibiran, and Almeria.

Floodwaters cut off Caraycaray and Catmon Bridges, making Biliran town inaccessible to the provincial capital of Naval.

The governor also confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte and some of his Cabinet members will visit the typhoon-wrecked province on Monday to assess the damage caused by “Urduja”.

He said the President will arrive around 2:30 p.m. at the Naval State University in the capital town.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol will be with the Chief Executive.

“We are upbeat about this visit for them to personally see the urgency to address the needs of our people and rehabilitate damaged infrastructure,” Espina said in a video interview posted on Biliran Island Facebook page.

The governor said at least 26 were confirmed dead but only 23 bodies been retrieved as of Monday morning. At least 28 people are still missing.

Biliran is one of the country’s smallest provinces with a land area of 536 square kilometers and a population of 171,612 as of 2015. Formerly a sub-province of Leyte, it became an independent province in 1992. (PNA)