3 fishermen missing as ‘Urduja’ intensifies, makes landfall on Eastern Samar

December 16, 2017 - 6:46 AM
Pagasa satellite image showing weather conditions early Saturday morning, December 16.

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 4, 3:02 pm) Tropical storm landfall Urduja made landfall in the vicinity of San Policarpio, Eastern Samar past 1pm Saturday, the 2pm bulletin issued by state weather agency PAGASA said, even as three fishermen remained missing, eight flights were cancelled and over 11,000 people remained stranded in three ports.

PAGASA hoisted tropical storm warning signal 2 over four provinces in Luzon and eight in the Visayas:
Masbatae including Burias and Ticao Islands
Northern Samar
Eastern Samar
Northern Iloilo

These areas are expected to experience 61-120 kph winds in the next 24 hours. Coastal flooding is possible, said PAGASA, which also issues a warning to shippers.

As of 1pm, tropical storm Urduja’s center was estimated at the vicinity of San Policarpio, with maximum sustained winds of up to 80kph and gustiness of up to 110 kph. It was forecast to move westward at 15 kph.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said more than 11,000 passengers were stranded in seaports across the country, and at least eight flights were canceled at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Saturday.

In an advisory, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said the following flights were canceled due to bad weather:
5J (Cebu Pacific) 651/652 Manila – Tacloban – Manila
5J (Cebu Pacific) 649/650 Manila – Tacloban – Manila
5J (Cebu Pacific) 373/374 Manila – Roxas – Manila
Z2 (Philippine Air Asia) 320/321 Manila – Tacloban – Manila
Z2 (Philippine Air Asia) 324/325 Manila – Tacloban – Manila
DG (Cebgo) 6177/6178 Manila – Masbate – Manila
DG (Cebgo) 6073/6074 Manila – Tablas – Manila
M8 (Skyjet) 421/422 Manila – Siargao – Manila

Earlier, three fishermen in Eastern Samar were reported missing as thousands of persons fled their homes throughout Eastern Visayas as rains from the approaching storm triggered floods and landslides.

Urduja was last tracked at 75 kilometers north-northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar or 120 km east-southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar packing maximum winds of 80 kilometers per hour near the center with gusts of up to 110 kph as it moved west-northwest at 15 kph.

Tropical cyclone warning signal No. 2, meaning winds of 61-120 kph are expected in 24 hours, is raised over Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands, Romblon, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Aklan, Capiz and northen Iloilo

Signal No. 1 (30-60 kph winds in 36 hours) was up over southern Quezon, Mindoro, Marinduque, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Cuyo Islands, the Calamian Group of Islands, Antique, the rest of Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, northern Negros Oriental, Cebu, Northern Bohol, Southern Leyte and Dinagat Islands.

The Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council said 94,904 persons in the Samar and Leyte provinces have been displaced, with more than 38,000 seeking shelter in evacuation centers. Eastern Samar had the most number of evacuees — 32,262.

Flooding in Calbiga, Samar. (PNA photo by Era Mae Abelido Hernandez)

The National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council, on the other hand, said 35,021 families,or 158,166 persons, in 322 barangays in Region 8 and Caraga have been affected by bad weather this week Of these, 8,831 families, or 38,846 persons, are in evacuation centers.

Heavy flooding was reported in the towns of Sta. Rita, Jiabong, Basey, Marabut, Paranas, in Samar; Taft, Quinapundan, Salcedo, Gen. MacArthur and Maydolong in Eastern Samar.

Tacloban City in Leyte was declared under a state of calamity Friday afternoon due to severe flooding.

Two people were injured by a landslide on Artemio Mate Avenue in Tacloban while debris from other landslides blocked national roads in several areas in Eastern Samar and Southern Leyte provinces, the RDRRMC reported.

Fishermen Alfredo Berroja from Balangiga town, Rogelio Gamalo Pepito Gacho Jr., both of Lawaan town, went to sea on December 13 despite warnings from the Coast Guard and have been unheard from since, Office of Civil Defense regional director Edgar Posadas said.

In all, the NDRRMC said 92 areas in Western and Eastern Visayas experienced flooding.


The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that, as of Friday, 11,101 passengers, 1,322 rolling cargoes, 52 vessels and 33 motorbanca were stranded in Calabarzon, Mimarop, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and National Capital Region.

With rainfall within Urduja’s 500-km diameter estimated to be moderate to heavy, Pagasa warned of serious flooding and landslides in Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, and Biliran provinces.

It also raised the risk of flooding and landslides in the rest of the Visayas, the Bicol region, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Caraga, Calabarzon and the provinces of Mindoro and Palawan.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon can expect cloudy skies with scattered rains due to the northeast monsoon while localized thunderstorms will bring partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers to the rest of Mindanao.

Sea travel remains risky in areas under storm waning signals.

Here are Urduja’s forecast positions over the next few days:

  • 24 Hour(Tomorrow morning): 50 km North Northwest of Roxas City, Capiz(12.0°N, 122.6°E)
  • 48 Hour(Monday morning):185 km North Northeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan(11.3°N, 119.2°E)
  • 72 Hour(Tuesday morning): 245 km West Northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan(10.4°N, 116.6°E)
  • 96 Hour(Wednesday morning):480 km West of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (OUTSIDE PAR)(9.5°N, 114.4°E)

(with reports from News5, Philippine News Agency)