Built beside a hill, three classrooms at Sabang Elementary School were swamped with mud after a landslide. Classes will be temporarily held at the community’s basketball court.

Books, learning materials buried in mud at Sabang Elementary School.

Teachers cross what's left of Caraycaray Bridge, one of Biliran’s major bridges that connects the province to the rest of Eastern Visayas. The bridge collapsed on Dec.16 after heavy flooding.

Salita Saludo, teacher at Caraycaray Central School, checks her files and learning materials. Saludo says she was able to save these by covering them with plastic.

A family from Sitio Ilawod in Caraycaray, a fishing community that was heavily flooded, has sought refuge at Caraycaray Central School.

Geraldine Paril, 35, a resident of Sitio Ilawod breastfeeds her baby in a classroom at Caraycaray Central School. Paril and 56 other families have evacuated here.

Mary Rose, Racquel and Mary Chris go to school at Caraycaray Central School, which also serves as their temporary shelter while their parents repair their house in Sitio Ilawod.

Teachers of Sto. Nino Elementary School cross a makeshift bridge to reach their classrooms.

Mud covers the compound of the Sto. Nino Elementary School. A total of 465 students are hoping to get back to school by Monday.

Nine-year-old Darwin Sabonsolin helps his teacher remove mud from their classroom.

Students at Sto. Nino Elementary School help in the cleanup, as they are eager for classes to resume.

Shella Jhane Sacedor, a teacher at Sto. Nino Elementary School, fixes her table. Most of her learning materials were covered with mud, including a projector she personally purchased. “Ni-loan ko pa 'yun,” she says.

PHOTOS: Students, teachers help in massive cleanup of classrooms in storm-hit Biliran

NAVAL, Biliran – Most schools in Biliran resumed classes Thursday, even as seven schools in the capital Naval opted to resume classes on Jan. 8 for safety reasons.

Heavy rains due to Tropical Storm Urduja on Dec. 16 forced eight towns in the province to suspend classes, as schools were flooded and the national highway was left impassable.

During her visit in Naval on Dec. 27, Education Sec. Leonor Briones urged schools to resume classes on Jan. 3.

“May eskwelahan o wala may silya o wala, may atop o wala, may ulan o dili kinahanglan magsugod gyud ta (Whether or not we have classrooms, chairs, roof on school buildings, whether it’s raining or not we should resume classes), Briones said.

The damage, however, was too extensive in some areas.

The Department of Education's (DepEd) Biliran division estimated more than P39 million will be needed to repair and rebuild school buildings. It also recommended the relocation of seven schools sites, as the current locations are no longer safe.

Overall damage in infrastructure and agriculture in the province was estimated to have reached P900 million, with Urduja's wrath leaving 42 dead.

As communities recover from the impact of Urduja, students and teachers at Sto. Nino Elementary School, Caraycaray Central School and Sabang Elementary School are helping rebuild their classrooms starting with a massive cleanup -- one broken chair, one torn book at a time.


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