Western Visayas

Typhoon Odette leaves 4 dead in Negros Occidental; Kabankalan City under water

Inday Espina-Varona
Typhoon Odette leaves 4 dead in Negros Occidental; Kabankalan City under water
Governor Bong Lacson says he expects the most damage from Kabankalan City, in the province's southern part

Typhoon Odette (Rai) left at least 4 persons dead in Negros Occidental, Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson said on Friday, December 17.

Hours after Odette swept through the province late Thursday evening, December 16, police in various towns were hard at work clearing roads of debris, including the remains of houses. As of early Friday, Typhoon Odette started to slow down, passing over the Sulu Sea, between the islands of Cuyo and Cagayancillo in Palawan.

Lacson said San Carlos City, La Carlota City, Manapla, and Moises Padilla have reported one death each.

In San Carlos, northern Negros Occidental, a 64-year-old woman was crushed when a huge tree fell on her hut by the national highway. In Escalante, also in the province’s northern part, cops picked up trees and a hut blocking the highway.

FURY. A house by the highway in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental crushed by a huge tree felled by Typhoon Odette in the early hours of December 17. Photo by San Carlos DRRMO

In Isabela town, strong winds destroyed the emergency triage center of the Ignacio Locsin Arroyo Memorial District Hospital.

Lacson said he expects the most damage from Kabankalan City, in the province’s southern part.

The Coast Guard and police were struggling there to rescue people from Barangay 1, in the heart of the city, where rising waters from the overflowing Ilog River threatened even structures on elevated land. “It is a situation and least expected,” the governor told Digicast Negros in an interview.

Cops have gone without sleep for 12 hours now, spending the entire night rescuing scores of families.

In Bacolod City, social services and development head Pacit Tero said at least 1,220 families, composed of 4,986 individuals, were pre-emptively evacuated to different centers. Mayor Evelio Leonardia went around the evacuation centers as local government staff distributed food packs. In the coastal village of Banago, former congressman Albee Benitez deployed a mobile soup kitchen to serve hundreds of folk forced to flee their homes.

Only a few nights ago, Bacolod displayed an extravaganza of Christmas lights in the city plaza, the city government center and the provincial Capitol Lagoon. The province’s huge Christmas tree was wrecked by winds while at the city government center, several letters were missing from concrete blocks spelling out the city’s name. Beside the city government office, winds had destroyed a gas station.

Architect Robert Aguillon took this photo of a house blown to the highway just off Handumanan village, Bacolod City

In Barangay Granada, residents have started the hard work of clearing the community of the typhoon’s detritus, including huge trees.

This is a developing story and Rappler will update as reports come in. – Rappler.com