NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – Towns in northern Negros Oriental bore the brunt of Typhoon Odette (Rai) when it hit the province midnight on Friday, December 17.
The Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office has recorded 41 dead, 57 injured, and 33 missing across the province as of 8 am on Sunday, December 19, according to figures cited by local media.
In Bais City, data from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office showed the death toll there at 14, while 19 others were missing, as of 8 pm on Sunday.
Provincial authorities have yet to release a consolidated report on casualties and damage.
Images from Bais show a city still reeling from flash floods and strong winds. A city legal officer told Rappler that residents are “in urgent need of water and food.” Power and water supply are still down, while telecommunication lines remain unreliable.
Various individuals from Dumaguete City have organized their own relief drives for Bais, asking people for donations of water, food, and other necessities that they can bring for the victims.
A Metro Dumaguete Water tanker also provided much-needed potable water for residents in Barangay Poblacion 2, after youth groups requested assistance, according to Renz Macion, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president of Dumaguete City.
Other towns such as Manjuyod, Bindoy, Ayungon, Tayasan, Jimalalud, La Libertad, and Guihulngan City also saw considerable damage. But the full extent of the destruction in these areas may not be known until a few more days as telecommunication lines are still mostly down. Odette had made its eighth landfall in La Libertad at 12 am on Friday.
Baptist pastor Metusalem Brasona posted images of the damage at a seaside community in Barangay Awa-an, Ayungon, telling Rappler that some homes in the town were washed out by storm surges. He hopes that food, shelter, and clothing can reach the area soon.
Photos posted by Marc Aguilar on Facebook, meanwhile, show several homes along the coast of Tayasan were also leveled by strong winds and huge waves. There is still no power in the area, and residents are also in need of clean water.
Silliman University student-leader Francis Bulado had to travel an hour from Guihulngan City to San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, to post photos of the devastation in his home city. He says hundreds of homes were destroyed, and many families have been displaced and are suffering from hunger.
His organization, Guihulngan Empowered Youth Towards Sustainable and Green Environment, is gathering donations to give to his community.
Apo Island, a popular tourist dive spot that is part of Dauin town, was also affected. Rosalyn Pascobello, a local, shared on Facebook that while residents in the island are safe, they would need help with rebuilding their homes and other donations.
Odette mostly spared the capital, Dumaguete City, but residents had to endure almost two full days of having no power and internet connection. Most automated teller machines were also down until Sunday, when the internet was mostly restored.
Odette’s strong winds, felt in Dumaguete City from Thursday evening, December 16, to the early hours of Friday, toppled several trees which damaged some homes and power lines, plunging the city into darkness. All backbone lines were restored by the Negros Oriental II Electric Cooperative on Sunday.
The Dumaguete City government reported at least one fatality as of Saturday, December 18 – a 32-year-old resident of Barangay Banilad who died from a traumatic head injury after a tree fell while she was in bed. About 776 families or 3,077 individuals who were preemptively evacuated have already returned to their homes. – Rappler.com