CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia declared a state of calamity in the province on Friday, December 17, hours after Typhoon Odette (Rai) departed Central Visayas , leaving massive destruction in its wake.
Garcia made the announcement during her ocular inspection of the province’s southern towns. The governor said she signed an executive order around 10 am to give local government executives guidance on relief and rehabilitation efforts.
There was no clear number of casualties because of the breakdown of communication structures. The disaster risk reduction management body, however, said most southern Cebu towns remained inaccessible as trees, posts, and even light houses were strewn across streets.
Residents said their main needs included food and equipment to build makeshift shelters.
All communication lines were down in Carcar and Sibonga and most of the province remained without electricity.
Garcia said she would be meeting with power distributors on Saturday, December 18, to discuss the fastest way to normalize the situation.
In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Lopez Rama appealed to the private sector to help affected communities.
At a press briefing, he appealed for understanding from residents who were frustrated by continuing power and communications problems and thousands of displaced individuals waiting for food and other aid in evacuation centers.
Rama could not give details of damage to property, saying clearing operations were still underway.
“We need your understanding,” the mayor said in a mix of English and Bisaya.
He promised the city government would hold daily command conferences to fast track the recovery of Cebu City.
This is a developing story. Rappler will update this as new information comes in. – Rappler.com