NDRRMC: At least three dead, including two-year-old boy due to #UrdujaPH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 16) — At least three people are dead, including a two-year-old boy, as tropical storm Urduja battered Eastern Visayas, national disaster management officials said Saturday.

One died in a landslide in Biliran province, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in a press briefing.

A fisherman from Eastern Samar and a two-year-old from Mahaplag town in Leyte were among the casualties, but causes of their death were not immediately known.

NDRRMC has yet to release an updated report on the fatalities, but Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez also told CNN Philippines that two other people were reported dead in Ormoc City as of Saturday.

Four others were injured in landslides in Biliran and Tacloban City. Three persons from the landslide in Biliran have still to be found, while three fishermen in Eastern Samar have also been reported missing, the NDRRMC said.

A state of calamity has been declared in Tacloban City and Ormoc City in Leyte, and in the province of Northern Samar.

This will allow the government to quickly release funds needed for relief and rehabilitation.

The NDRRMC said the storm forced the evacuation of over 2,600 families in Northern Samar as of Saturday.

Urduja, with winds of up to 75 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of 120 kph, picked up speed to 15 kph. Its relatively slow movement and wide rainbands of 500-kms in diameter have battered the eastern part of the Philippines since Friday.

Urduja made landfall in San Policarpio, Eastern Samar at around 1 p.m. Saturday, PAGASA said.

READ: Urduja slightly weakens as it moves over Samar

Thousands evacuated in Tacloban

In Tacloban City, almost 4,500 families have gone to evacuation centers as of Saturday, officials said.

Another 2, 979 are staying in schools and churches, the City Social Welfare and Development Office said.

The affected residents live mostly in low-lying areas. Some of them are from a Yolanda resettlement site.

Food packs have been distributed to affected residents, said city social welfare chief Remedios Buna.

The storm caused power outage in the city, and power has yet to be restored. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said that they are ready to energize some parts of Tacloban.

A twister also damaged structures in the Tacloban airport and city center.

In November 2013, Tacloban was ground zero of Super Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms ever recorded where over 6,000 people died.

Mayor: Two dead, three missing in Ormoc

In Ormoc City, more than 50-kilometers away from Tacloban, two people are dead, said city mayor Gomez.

One woman died after she was buried in a landslide, while another person fell into a manhole.

Three people are also missing after they were washed away by the flood. Their bodies have yet to be recovered.

About 21 barangays in the city have been affected by the storm. Some roads are also impassable.

Ninety percent of agricultural crops have been damaged by Urduja, said Gomez.

It’s December, bagong tanim lang ‘yung mga rice field namin so talagang nasira about 90 percent of that,” he said.

[Translation: It’s December, our rice fields are newly planted so about 90 percent of them have been damaged.]

Gomez said relief goods were delivered to affected barangays. However, he added they need more water and blankets due to the colder weather in Ormoc.

Coast Guard: More than 13,000 passengers stranded

As Urduja made its way through Samar and Leyte, the Philippine Coast Guard canceled more trips to and from the storm-affected areas, leaving 13,387 passengers were stranded Saturday. at ports in Manila,  the provinces of Bicol and in the southern Tagalog region, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, and Southern Visayas.

Trips from the Araneta Bus Terminal in Cubao to Leyte, Samar, and some provinces in northern Mindanao were also canceled.

Domestic flights to and from the areas hit by Urduja were also called off.

READ: Flight cancellations on December 16 due to #UrdujaPH

Urduja is expected to exit the South China Sea  on Wednesday.