CEBU CITY—The reported death toll of Typhoon “Odette” in the Visayas has doubled to more than 200 in just one day as reports on casualties and damages from towns and cities started to reach provincial centers.
As local officials grapple with the magnitude of the death and destruction, hundreds of thousands of residents in Central, Western and Eastern Visayas regions have not returned to their homes, struggling to find food, water and help to rebuild their houses and lives.
The number of fatalities of the typhoon, the worst to hit the region since supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013, reached 262 including 72 in Bohol, 46 in Cebu province, 15 in Cebu City, 7 in Lapu-Lapu City, 8 in Mandaue City, 51 in Negros Oriental, 38 in Negros Occidental, 21 in Southern Leyte, 2 in Guimaras and one each in Iloilo City and Iloilo province.
At least 26 were reported missing in Negros Oriental.
In Western Visayas alone, 28,152 houses were destroyed and 38,739 others were damaged.
More than 249,000 persons have been displaced, staying in evacuation centers or other houses, according to a report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council as of 5 p.m. of Dec. 19.
President Duterte flew to Cebu and Bohol on Sunday afternoon to inspect the damage caused by Odette in the province.
In Negros Occidental alone, damage to the province was initially estimated at P5.9 billion including P4.4 billion in agriculture, said Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson who issued an executive order placing the entire province under a state of calamity.
Damage to property and infrastructure in Negros Oriental was initially placed at P600 million. In Western Visayas, the Department of Agriculture estimated that damaged to rice lands alone reached P820 million.
At least 76 are reported dead in the entire Cebu Island while one town remain isolated, four days after being ravaged by Typhoon Odette.
Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia said 30 out of the 44 towns of the province incurred from 60 to 70 percent damage from the typhoon.
Garcia said in a press conference on Monday that damage to infrastructure was “horrendous” with the towns in Cebu’s 7th congressional district incurring the worst damage.
These include the towns of Dumanjug, Alcantara, Ronda, Badian, Moalboal, Samboan, Ginatilan, Alegria, and Malabuyoc.
The town of Malabuyoc remained isolated and has dwindling basic supplies.
Goods will be delivered via sea using a landing craft tank vessel, according to the governor. Four days after the typhoon’s onslaught, most of Cebu island remained without electricity and mobile phone services including data connections remained intermittent.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said in a statement that it has started restoring power to several provinces in the Visayas including Cebu, Samar and Leyte but normalization of power supply will also depend on electric distributors.
A total of 12 towers and 462 transmission structures were found damaged by the typhoon. Cellphone signals in Cebu remained problematic as of Monday with many Cebuanos unable to communicate with relatives especially in the towns.
But on Sunday night, Visayan Electric “successfully energized” a portion of V. Rama Ave. and B. Rodriguez St. near the government-owned Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and privately-owned Chong Hua Hospital.
In a statement, the 18-megawatt supplied by Cebu Private Power Corporation (CPPC) would prioritize hospitals, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District) pumping stations, other vital installations, or other loads cleared for energization.”
In the north, the Cebu Electric Cooperative II was implementing rotational brownout after it managed to energize most of its franchise area except for Carmen and Compostela towns and Danao City which incurred heavy damage on the lines.
Garcia said the immediate need in Cebu Province were generator sets which could be used for powering up the gas stations, water pumps, and other essentials to services.
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