CEBU, Philippines – Cebu’s southwestern municipality of Malabuyoc is completely isolated from the rest of the province, and they’re running out of basic goods.
In a press conference on Monday, December 20, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the 5th-class municipality was inaccessible to four-wheeled vehicles from the circumferential road coming from the north. The bridge linking it to the neighboring town Ginatilan on its other end had collapsed because of Typhoon Odette.
“Pagdating mo [sa] Malabuyoc, kasi mahirap na ‘yung access, hindi na makapasok even ang four-wheeled vehicles…walang goods madadala doon. Walang fuel. Walang heavy equipment. Because you cannot carry it in one motorcycle,” Garcia told reporters.
(When you arrive in Malabuyoc, because access there is hard, and [roads are] not passable even to four-wheeled vehicles…no goods can be brought over. No fuel. No heavy equipment. Because you cannot carry [them] on a motorcycle.)
“The need is immediate because, according to the mayor yesterday, they are running out of food and other necessities,” she said.
Garcia and provincial personnel conducted ocular inspections in the southern and southwestern towns on Sunday, December 19, to bring aid and assess the damage incurred by affected towns.
Because of the obstruction, Malabuyoc can only be accessed via motorcycle or through sea craft. The provincial government has identified a barge to bring goods and clearing equipment to the town on Tuesday, December 21.
“Practically, Malabuyoc is isolated. We are now preparing an LCT (landing craft tank), we’ll be loading it up. We are preparing rice, goods, fuel, and some equipment that we may also use for clearing,” Garcia said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The provincial government and its constituent local government units are still in the process of clearing major thoroughfares.
Deaths in Alcoy town
Meanwhile, 13 more deaths were reported in Cebu, in the municipality of Alcoy, bringing the province’s number of casualties to 46.
In her press conference on Monday, Garcia said the additional casualties were families living near a dried-up creek, which overflowed during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.
The death toll in the province is set to increase in the following days as more and more towns become accessible to provincial personnel and media.
Garcia, however, said that the death count would have been greater if the local government units did not conduct preemptive evacuations.
“With such a wide expanse of the typhoon devastation…the casualty count is quite low comparatively in a population of 3.2 million people and with such severe onslaught of Typhoon Odette,” she said. – Rappler.com