WRATH OF 'ODETTE'. Houses destroyed by Typhoon Odette in the coastal village of Asuncion in Maasin City, Southern Leyte. The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in Eastern Visayas said on Friday (Dec. 17, 2021) the main challenge is to communicate with local officials in the province after the strong typhoon unleashed its wrath. (Photo courtesy of Farimae Urbano)

TACLOBAN CITY – Power and communication are still down in the entire Southern Leyte after Typhoon Odette made its third and fourth landfall in the province on Thursday.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) in Eastern Visayas said on Friday the main challenge is to communicate with local officials in the province after the strong typhoon unleashed its wrath.

"As of 7:40 pm on Thursday, we did not receive reports of casualties probably due to preemptive evacuation by the local government. Preliminary reports reaching the Department of Health show that there are only slight injuries," said RDRRMC chair Lord Byron Torrecarion, in an interview.

He added that a team from the Department of Information and Communication Technology is heading to Maasin City, Southern Leyte to set up an emergency communication system.

Maasin is the capital of Southern Leyte province, located 185 kilometers south of this city, the regional capital.

"Our incident management team is heading to Southern Leyte with satellite phones for local authorities to communicate with national government agencies," Torrecarion added.

The official said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is preparing an additional 20,000 food packs for the province.

Aside from Southern Leyte, the RDRRMC is also monitoring the post-disaster situation in the southern part of Leyte province placed under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 4.

These are the towns of Matalom, Bato, Inopacan, Hindang, Mahaplag, and Abuyog.

After twice hitting land in Siargao and Dinagat Island, "Odette" made its third landfall in Liloan, Southern Leyte at 4:50 p.m. on Thursday.

The fourth landfall was recorded at 5:40 p.m. in nearby Padre Burgos town.

The typhoon's fierce wind has caused power interruptions in Leyte and Southern Leyte provinces since Thursday morning.

The typhoon crossed Caraga and Eastern Visayas region with a maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 270 kph. (PNA)