Metro Cebu prepares for Typhoon Odette

John Sitchon
Metro Cebu prepares for Typhoon Odette

PREPARATIONS. Mandaue City personnel prepare rescue equipment before Typhoon Odette makes landfall in the Philippines.

Jonas Cortes Facebook page

Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu cities prepare rescue and emergency plans before the onslaught of Typhoon Odette

CEBU, Philippines – Mandaue City, Cebu City, and Lapu-Lapu City are now deploying disaster prevention measures and relief operations in anticipation of Typhoon Odette’s onslaught.

At 11 am Wednesday, December 15, the entire Cebu province was placed under Signal No. 1. This came after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that Odette (Rai) strengthened from a severe tropical storm into a typhoon. 

“As far as I look at the situation, it would be better to side with caution,” said Cebu City mayor Mike Rama in a live-streamed Wednesday press briefing.

The city identified mountainous barangays and lowland areas where they planned to deploy flood-control equipment and personnel, according to Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, head of the committee on infrastructure.

Many upland barangays in Cebu City are prone to landslides, while lowland areas easily flood.

“Before anything can happen, our clearing of these areas that might have possible clog-ups are ongoing,” said Guardo.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Cebu City District Engineering Office, and the Cebu Contractors Association were on alert to respond to emergencies .

According to Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, off-duty personnel would be recalled to augment their current manpower.

As of this writing, the city is already coordinating with barangay officials for the preemptive evacuation of residents who live near the shorelines and landslide-prone areas.

Rama said that the City Health Department, Cebu City Medical Center, City Hall, and other concerned offices will be open, operating with a skeletal workforce. Only frontliners are expected to be around at city hall.

Rama clarified that vaccinations will still continue, however, other activities such as the distribution of financial assistance to senior citizens will have to be postponed. 

“I would suggest that people just stay at home,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes announced on his Facebook page that his city was bracing for Odette by preparing their designated barangay evacuation centers and their emergency vehicles.

Andam na usab ang atong City Social Welfare Service (CSWS) para maghatod ug mga relief kits sa mga manginahanglan niini. (Our CSWS is also ready to distribute relief kits to those who are in need),” said Cortes.

The said relief kits contain rice, canned goods, a mat for sleeping, and other day-to-day essentials. 

Cortes said that they are currently monitoring the situation via the Mandaue City Command Center. The City Engineering Office, General Services Office, and Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue are also on standby for any typhoon-related incidents.

Across the bridge in Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan announced on his social media page last Monday, December 13, that his city has begun aid distributions, especially on Olango Island.

Bisag pa man sa kadagko sa mga balod, ato gayud gilabang ang Olango Island para mahatod ang solar panels nga maoy modanlag sa kagabhion sa atong mga kaigsuonang Olangohanon,” he said.

(No matter how big the waves are, we traveled to Olango Island to deliver solar panels that will light the darkness for our fellow Olangohanons)

Most residents in Olango Island, a separate island which is part of Lapu-Lapu City, are fishermen who will not be able to go out to catch fish during the typhoon’s landfall.

The city government distributed relief packs to residents of the island.

If you are in need of emergency services or rescue, call the following numbers:

Lapu-Lapu City Rescue Hotlines

  • 0999 972 1111
  • 0917 849 4709

Bantay Mandaue Hotlines

  • Command Center Telephone #: 383-1658
  • Globe/TM: 09454330054
  • Smart/Sun/TNT: 09384765461

Cebu City Emergency Hotlines

  • Landline: 032 262 1424/166
  • Mobile numbers: 09325377770, 09235248222, 09471780000, 09471789999, 09567900377