CEBU CITY, Philippines – Three towns in the southernmost tip of Cebu were ravaged by typhoon Pablo (Bopha) as it made its way thorugh the Visayas on Tuesday, December 4.
The provincial government has identified the towns of Boljoon, Oslob, and Santander as the towns most affected by storm surges.
The three towns have been declared under state of calamity due to infrastructure damage caused by big waves along costal barangays.
Waves created by Pablo ravaged provincial highways and destroyed dozen of houses and concrete beachfronts.
Boljoon sustained the largest damage after sea water reached one of Cebu’s oldest stone churches, and flooded most of municipal hall, damaging office equipment.
Municipal planning officer Corazon Medida said the storm surge lasted for 30 minutes, enough to wipe-out at least 20 houses situated in the costal barangays. Affected resident failed to salvage anything from their destroyed houses.
At least 500 residents flocked to evacuation centers in a public school and a covered court, while others took shelter inside the town church.
At least 128 residents of Oslob town were also evacuated after a seawall protecting costal barangays was destroyed. A total of 500 houses were damaged in the three affected municipalities.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered a provincial wide-relief operation to assist affected residents. Additional heavy equipment has been augmented to for clearing operations.
Meanwhile, the Cebu City government reported that there were no major damage caused by the storm in the city.
The typhoon killed three people in Cebu. The first reported fatality was Arlene Pila of Boljoon, followed by Valentino Pimentel of Malabuyoc town - both crushed by a coconut tree.
Oryang Caballos of Malabuyoc was reportedly killed due to hypothermia after being exposed to rain. - Ryan Christopher J. Sorote