CEBU CITY – Localities in Cebu province on Friday began assessing the extent of the damage from Typhoon Odette, which left six people dead in Mandaue City and rendered many roads impassable and without electricity, water, and Internet connection.
The typhoon made landfall in the vicinity of Carcar City in the south of the province, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
According to the townsfolk, the typhoon began lashing houses, trees, and structures at about 9 p.m. on Thursday.
Its landfall in Carcar City was the seventh since it first hit Siargao Island at 1:30 p.m.
Neighboring localities, such as Sibonga in the south, as well as San Fernando, Naga City, Minglanila, and Talisay City in the north were affected by the landfall.
After Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, the typhoon also made landfall in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands (3:10 p.m.); Liloan, Southern Leyte (4:50 p.m.); Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte (5:40 p.m.); Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Bohol (6:30 p.m.); and Bien Unido, Bohol (7:30 p.m.).
“Odette's” eye passed through the vicinity of Carcar with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph near the center, and gustiness of up to 240 kph.
After the typhoon, major thoroughfares and barangay roads became impassable due to fallen trees, electric posts, and debris. But by Friday morning, local government responders and volunteers have already cleared some of the roads.
However, a lot of major roads remained inaccessible to vehicles as of posting time, such as the north-bound lane of the Cebu South Coastal Road in Talisay City, where more than 10 main electric posts got toppled.
The Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority were also assessing the damage of the typhoon in the maritime sector.
About 10 sea vessels were reported by the media as having washed ashore. A few fast crafts smacked into the pier area following huge waves and strong winds.
With the electricity cut off, a few department stores and supermarkets relied on generators to power their operations the morning after the typhoon.
Many gasoline stations were rendered unserviceable by the typhoon, though some were rationing by Friday to motorists who had queued up in front of them.
Fatalities in Mandaue City
In Mandaue City, six individuals were reported dead after the typhoon destroyed their house.
One of the fatalities, a 63-year-old man, was pinned down by the wooden structure of their house's second floor after being hit by a huge concrete perimeter fence of a logistics company in Barangay Maguikay in Mandaue City. His 23-year-old daughter and 16-year-old grandchild also died.
Three of his neighbors – a mother who was a nurse and her three-year-old twin daughters who were living in the adjacent house – were also killed by the fallen fence.
Mayor Jonas Cortes said about 1,700 individuals living in low-lying areas were transferred to safe places, such as the sports gymnasium and public schools, hours before “Odette's” onslaught.
The city is now assessing the damage left by the typhoon on major industries and establishments operating in the city.
Appeal for patience
In a briefing on Friday, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama appealed for “utmost consideration and patience” from the city residents who are still reeling from “Odette's” aftermath
“All have been affected. What’s important is that your city government has been in the forefront before the typhoon came and up to 12 midnight and our volunteers are there to work for you. We need your help and understanding and your usual spirit that we’ve adopted in managing the pandemic,” Rama said in Cebuano.
He also said the vaccination rollout at the barangays had to be suspended “until further notice” to focus the local government’s energy and resources on the recovery effort.
The mayor said he met with Metro Cebu Water District chairman Joey Daluz to get his assurance that water supply would return to the villages it is servicing.
City council convened
Rama said he has instructed Vice Mayor Donaldo Hontiveros to convene the city council in a special session to tackle the possibility of placing the entire city under a state of calamity and discuss relief efforts.
He also appealed to residents in the hinterland villages to wait for assistance from the Cebu City Hall, saying that the volunteers would certainly get to them as soon as the roads had been cleared.
“We already know the things to be addressed but we have constraints. While the assistance has not yet arrived, you can do it yourself. But we will definitely be around, especially if the power is restored and the roads are cleared,” Rama said.
He instructed the city agriculturist to conduct an assessment of the damage to the agricultural sector here.
In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Junard Chan also called on the members of the city council to convene on Saturday to place the island city under a state of calamity.
Chan also invited fraternities and groups to help in the road-clearing operations.
Power, phone lines down
The typhoon left a vast portion of Metro Cebu without electricity and water, and with erratic Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Visayan Electric Co., the power service provider whose franchise area covers most of the localities in Metro Cebu, explained to the public why power lines had to be shut off before and after the typhoon's onslaught.
Quennie Bronce, public affairs head of Visayan Electric, said they would keep the lights on so long as it is safe to do it.
Adonis Evangelista, regional sales head of Globe Telecom, appealed for patience from their subscribers as all telecommunication services in the area are down.
“On my estimate, electricity will be back by next week since a few street poles are down. For Globe, we already have in place ‘Libreng Tawag/Libreng Charging’, which will be up at least by tomorrow (December 18),” Evangelista told the Philippine News Agency.
He said they have already coordinated with the telcos to assess the damage to their infrastructure, pointing out the need to restore services as soon as possible. (PNA)