DESTROYED. Some of the boats damaged by Typhoon Odette in Limasawa, Southern Leyte in this Dec. 27, 2021 photo. The typhoon has damaged 7,265 fishing boats in Southern Leyte and some parts of Leyte province, according to the initial report of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

TACLOBAN CITY – Typhoon Odette has damaged at least 7,265 fishing boats in Southern Leyte and some parts of Leyte province, affecting the livelihood of 8,595 fishermen in these two provinces, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said in its initial report.

The fishery sector in the region has incurred PHP1.06 billon worth of losses due to the typhoon’s fierce winds and storm surges, said BFAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Juan Albaladejo.

In Southern Leyte, badly-hit fishing communities are in the towns of San Ricardo, Pintuyan, Saint Bernard, Libagon, Sogod, Maasin City, San Juan, Bontoc, Tomas Oppus, Malitbog, Padre Burgos, Hinunangan, and Liloan.

In Leyte, damages to the fishery sector were also recorded in Abuyog, Bato, Baybay, Dulag, Hindang, Hilongos, Inopacan, Javier, Leyte, Macarthur, Matalom, Mayorga, Merida, Ormoc City, Palo, Tanauan, and Tolosa.

Albaladejo said assessment is ongoing in the island town of Limasawa, one of the areas hit hard by “Odette” that ravaged Mindanao and Visayas provinces on Dec. 16, 2021.

“We are still getting more information on the ground so we can see the whole picture,” Albaladejo said in a message sent to the Philippine News Agency.

Before completing the assessment, BFAR has sent six units of 20-footer fiberglass boats with engines and complete accessories as well as two upfright freezers to Limasawa town on January 5.

The fisheries earlier deployed personnel from Samar provinces to conduct assessment since they are not affected by “Odette”.

Some of them have experienced doing ground assessment after Super Typhoon Yolanda that flattened Leyte and Samar communities in 2013.

“Data from assessment and validation will be used to create feasible and relevant livelihood intervention proposals for appropriate and immediate funding,” Albaladejo added.

The agency is eyeing to complete the full assessment of the typhoon’s impact to fishery sector in Southern Leyte within this month. (PNA)