DELUGE. A man in Jipapad town, Eastern Samar province wades through chest-deep flood waters Thursday (Jan. 12, 2023). According to the Office of Civil Defense, widespread flooding in Eastern Visayas region due to heavy rains has left two persons dead and displaced at least 213,737 residents. (Photo courtesy of Jipapad Mayor Benjamin Ver)

TACLOBAN CITY - Widespread flooding due to heavy rains this week have already killed two persons in Eastern Visayas and displaced at least 213,737 residents in the region, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) reported on Thursday.

Confirmed dead are Cpl. Jerry Palacio, whose body was found in San Isidro town, Northern Samar province and Winefreda Asis whose cadaver was recovered in Maydolong town, Eastern Samar.

Palacio was one of the soldiers tasked to help rescue flood victims when raging waters swept him away on Jan. 9. Rescuers found his body floating in a nearby river in San Isidro on Wednesday.

Asis, a resident of Pinanag-an village in Borongan City was first declared missing on Jan. 9 when their wooden banca capsized while attempting to reach a nearby village. Her companion, Carlito Dagumay, remained missing.

Fishermen found Asis' body floating near the shore of Maybocog village in Maydolong town on Wednesday.

OCD Eastern Visayas regional director Lord Byron Torrecarion told the Philippine News Agency that 120 flooding incidents have been reported as of Thursday in Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, and Eastern Samar provinces.

"We have 84 evacuation centers in operation in the region with 21,062 families taking shelter. The Department of Social Welfare and Development have started the distribution of food packs and some non-food items," Torrecarion said.

As of Thursday morning, the DSWD regional office has already distributed 14,944 food packs to families badly affected by flooding.

The official asked local governments to step up monitoring activities on since there are 1,445 villages in the region highly susceptible to flooding and landslides.

"The flooding is widespread due to heavy rains caused by the shearline since December. We recognize that the local government cannot sustain the needs of affected families. We also asked for replenishment of relief items from our central office considering that our stocks have been depleted due to bad weather last December,” Torrecarion added.

The official also reported that of the 13 areas in the country that experienced above normal rainfall from Jan. 6 to 10, six of these areas are in Eastern Visayas with cumulative volume rainfall ranging from 182 mm (millimeter) to 417 mm.

The areas that experience heavy rains are Catarman town, Northern Samar; Borongan City, Eastern Samar; Tacloban City, Leyte; Catbalogan City, Samar; Maasin City, Southern Leyte; and the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar. (PNA)