More casualties feared as Odette leaves trail of destruction in Visayas, Mindanao
(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte will visit and tour the areas in Mindanao and the Visayas that have been ravaged by supertyphoon Odette (international name Rai) this weekend, according to Malacanang.
The superhowler had left at least 12 people dead as it barreled through Visayas and Mindanao, making an unprecedented nine landfalls while packing winds of between 205 kilometers per hour to 240 km/hr.
These 12 casualties are based on the preliminary reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and the NDRRMC head Usec. Ricardo Jalad is hoping this number would not go higher.
“Mr. President. Sa ngayon ang monitored or initial report of casualties numbered about 12 in total coming from all those regions affected. And wala ring monitor — na-monitor o na-report na landslides na madalas in the past typhoons ay big contributors of casualties ano,” he said as he briefed President Duterte on Friday night after Odette made its ninth landfall in Roxas, Palawan.
“But hopefully, in the next few days in the conduct of more assessment by our LGUs and regional government agencies involved, there will be no more casualties to be reported. But we are doing our best, Mr. President, to collect the needed information with the help of the local government units and other agencies involved,” he explained.
-Unprecedented 9 landfalls-
Odette’s record nine landfalls exceeded the six landfalls made by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
As with Yolanda, supertyphoon Odette left a trail of destruction, this time across the Visayas and Mindanao region.
It had gusts of up to 240 km/hr when it first made landfall in Siargao, Surigao del Norte.
Jalad said Siargao was “heavily damaged” and the NDRRMC is still waiting for word from the regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and from the brigade commander of the 402nd Brigade who went to Siargao early Friday, December 17 to assess the damage.
The two officials were onboard two helicopters of the Philippine Air Force.
“And they had to go back to Butuan — the helicopter had to go back to Butuan to ferry some supplies,” Jalad said.
“As per report from — the information from the Provincial Governor of Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island is heavily damaged. There is no casualty reported though in CARAGA based on initial report from the Office of Civil Defense,” he said.
“There was power interruption in these areas: Dinagat Islands, Siargao, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur as well as communications and signal interruption in Siargao and Dinagat Islands,” he noted.
On Thursday, Dec. 16, at around 11 a.m., tropical cyclone wind signal no. 4 was hoisted over Southern Leyte, and the eastern portion Bohol, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands.
Odette made a total of seven landfalls that same day:
– 1:30 PM: 1st landfall in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte
– 3:10 PM: 2nd landfall in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands
– 4:50 PM: 3rd landfall in Liloan, Southern Leyte
– 5:40 PM: 4th landfall in Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte
– 6:30 PM: 5th landfall in Pres Carlos Garcia, Bohol
– 7:30 PM: 6th landfall in Bien Unido, Bohol
– 10:00 PM: 7th landfall in Carcar, Cebu
On Friday, Dec. 17, at exactly 12:00 AM, Odette made its 8th landfall in La Libertad, Negros Oriental. Later in the afternoon, it made its 9th landfall over Roxas, Palawan.
On Friday night, President Duterte said he would be flying today, Saturday, Dec. 18 to the devastated regions.
He also vowed to raise money for fund relief efforts as he raised concerns about how funds are already depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic as government poured money to buy vaccines, and address other COVID-19 related needs including setting up additional COVID hospitals/beds, paying out the affected lower-income groups, and giving additional funds to health workers who manned the frontlines.
“I’m flying tomorrow to the area. Also, I would hit maybe Leyte, Surigao, and if there is enough time, Bohol,” President Duterte said Friday during a situation briefing in Malacanang with government agencies on government response to Typhoon Odette.
“Then day after, I would try to visit Cebu, then dito sa western — eastern side of the islands, ang Bacolod, Iloilo.”
-Mounting worries amid depleted resources –
The President said he is not worried about damage to government infrastructures but fears casualty numbers could mount as rescue and relief operations start to reach isolated areas.
He said his government is trying to raise fund and discussed the matter with the budget department.
“Alam mo depleted ‘yung budget natin immensely because of the COVID. Naubos talaga ‘yung pera natin. We prioritize the expenses,” he explained.
“These typhoons, they are the imponderables as they would say. They would come, they would not come but the — itong COVID naubos ang pera natin. So we’re trying to scrimp how much we can raise so that we can marshal it to the areas affected.”
(Eagle News Service)