Updated at 12:49 am
AS many as 12 people may have died and thousands were evacuated as Typhoon “Odette” slashed across seven regions Friday, the government’s disaster management agency reported.
Packing 195-kilometer-per-hour winds, the giant storm, with international name “Rai”, made eight landfalls as it barreled its way through Mimaropa (Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan); Eastern, Central and Western Visayas; Northern Mindanao; and Caraga.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said the 12 deaths were still being validated.
A total of 84,674 families or 338,664 individuals were affected by Odette, he added.
Early reports indicated heavy flooding and massive damage in the affected areas. Power and communication lines were also down, making it difficult to make an accurate assessment of the extent of devastation.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) Command Center reported 2,910 passengers and 1,551 vehicles stranded in seaports after 112 interisland vessels were not allowed to sail.
The center also reported power outages in 83 areas in Mindanao and mobile phone service disruption in 369 areas in six regions.
In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas confirmed that a 54-year-old woman died after “bamboos fell on the roof of her house” at the height of Odette.
Storm Signal No. 3 was still up late Friday in the northern part of Palawan, Cagayancillo and Cuyo Islands.
In the Visayas, the same storm alert was up in Guimaras, the southern portion of Iloilo, southern Antique, central and southern Negros Occidental, and central Negros Oriental.
Under Signal No. 2 were the southern portion of Oriental Mindoro, the southern part of Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, the southern portion of Masbate, and the central portion of Palawan, Aklan, Capiz, the rest of Antique, the rest of Iloilo, the rest of Negros Oriental, the rest of Negros Occidental, Cebu, Siquijor, and the western portion of Bohol.
In Luzon, Signal No. 1 was up in Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, the rest of Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Marinduque, the southern portion of Quezon, the rest of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Islands, the rest of Oriental Mindoro, the rest of Palawan and Batangas.
In the Visayas, the same storm alert was up in Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte and the rest of Bohol.
Under Signal No. 1 in Mindanao were Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, the northern portion of Zamboanga del Norte, and the northern portion of Zamboanga del Sur.
The typhoon was forecast to cross the Sulu Sea and pass near either Cuyo or Cagayancillo archipelago Friday noon before making landfall somewhere in northern or central Palawan.
Pagasa said Odette was likely to reintensify once it emerges over the West Philippine Sea.
On Saturday, heavy to torrential rains will be likely in the Kalayaan Islands and moderate to heavy rains in Catanduanes, Camarines Provinces, Quezon and Aurora.
NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal said the agency was coordinating with local government units in storm-hit areas to determine the situation in the evacuation centers, where the minimum health protocols are not being observed.
About 250 barangay in Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Caraga were hit by the storm, Timbal said, while 62 cities and towns had power interruptions.
Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap was quoted on Friday during a radio interview citing similarities between Odette, and Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (“Haiyan”) that hit in 2013.
Several families living near the Loboc River were trapped on rooftops by floods, Yap said.
Over 4.1 million children across Eastern and Central Visayas and Northeast Mindanao are affected by the onslaught of Odette, according to the private child welfare organization Save the Children.
The group said in a statement it is gravely concerned for the welfare of the displaced children and their families who have lost their homes, cramped in evacuation centers, and who are being exposed to disease outbreaks such as malaria and diarrhea, as well as the risk of contracting Covid-19.
President Rodrigo Duterte will visit on Saturday areas in Eastern Visayas badly hit by Odette.
“I’m flying tomorrow… I would hit maybe Leyte, Surigao, and if there’s time, Bohol. Then the day after I will try to visit Cebu, then dito sa eastern side of the islands, Bacolod, Iloilo,” Duterte said during his situation briefing with concerned government agencies in Malacañang on Friday.
He said he will also be meeting with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to determine where the government can draw funds for typhoon recovery efforts.
Acting Palace spokesman Karlo Alexei Nograles assured on Friday the government is “assisting round the clock” residents affected by Odette.
“We reiterate our call to the public to continue to remain vigilant, stay safe and dry, and cooperate with local authorities to ensure everybody’s safety,” he said.
Nograles said electricity was being restored in 62 cities and towns and the Department of Social Welfare and Development has distributed food packs to affected families.
He added that operations in Mactan Cebu Airport have been suspended until further notice.
The Philippine Red Cross, meanwhile, said it has continued its mobilization efforts in stricken areas.
In an interview with Australian public broadcaster ABC Thursday night, Red Cross Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said the agency is expecting around 40,000 to 60,000 persons to seek shelter in 162 evacuation centers.
Gordon added that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Red Cross is fast-tracking the distribution of face masks and the deployment of hot meals, blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and jerry cans for water.
Gordon said Odette followed practically the same track of Tropical Storm “Sendong” (“Washi”), which killed more than 1,400 people in 2011.
In a separate statement, Gordon instructed local Red Cross chapters to prepare their payloaders to clear roads of fallen trees and debris.
He also appealed for donations for the affected communities in the Visayas and Mindanao, adding that the organization was preparing to send relief goods, food packs and sleeping kits to the affected areas.
WITH KRISTINA MARALIT, CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND RED MENDOZA
Leave A Comment