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Landslides hit major Samar highways due to ‘Samuel’

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Landslides, induced by heavy downpour triggered by Tropical Depression Samuel early Wednesday morning, have blocked two road sections in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar provinces, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here.

DPWH Eastern Visayas Regional Director Nerie Bueno reported that several minor landslides occurred along the road sections that link the towns of Palapag, Mapanas, Gamay, and Lapinig towns in Northern Samar while another landslide hit the road section in Binaloan village, Taft, Eastern Samar.

Bueno said field workers have been working double time to clear the roads from rocks and muds.

“We even asked help from our contractors to mobilize needed equipment to fast-track clearing operations in Northern Samar. This is our top priority as of this time,” Bueno told the Philippine News Agency.

He said the road section affected by the landslide in Eastern Samar is within the major road network that connects Samar province to Borongan City, the capital of Eastern Samar province.

“As of 6 a.m. today (Nov. 21), half of the road has been opened to traffic. The target is to open both lanes of the road within the day,” Bueno added.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration said Tropical Depression Samuel made its landfall on Wednesday in Borongan City around 2 a.m. and Daram, Samar at 4 a.m. Its third landfall was recorded 9 a.m. in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

The weather disturbance has maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph. It is moving west southwest at 40 kph. (PNA)