Most of Cebu bans pyrotechnics amid increased fire risk due to Odette

John Sitchon
Most of Cebu bans pyrotechnics amid increased fire risk due to Odette

FIRECRACKERS. Pyrotechnics being displayed for sale in the Philippines.

Wikimedia Commons

The tradition of lighting firecrackers in the New Year presents a possible fire hazard on Cebu island, which is mostly being powered by generators in the urban centers

CEBU, Philippines – Most Cebu island government units banned the use of firecrackers or fireworks due to the possible fire hazards brought about by Typhoon Odette, days before the new year. 

On Christmas Eve on Friday, December 24, Cebu Provincial Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order No. 51, prohibiting the use of firecrackers and fireworks in Cebu province.

“Whereas, the fallen trees and plants, as well as the storage of gasoline and diesel fuel, have practically turned the entire island of Cebu into a fire hazard,” stated the EO.

Mandaue City issued a similar executive order, while Cebu City issued an advisory against fireworks.

Mayor Samsam Gullas of Talisay City also said he would implement a ban on firecracker sales before the new year.

Ever since multiple power lines were left destroyed in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette, residents have been relying on diesel-powered generator sets to provide them electricity.

This has caused a large portion of the population to flock towards fuel stations to stock up on gasoline and fuel in their homes to power their generator sets, increasing the potential number of fire hazards in Cebu neighborhoods and streets.

“Among gi awhag ang tanan residente dinhi sa siyudad sa Sugbo sa paglikay ug pabuto mga fire crackers or manigarilyo sa mga pampubliko mga lugar kay atong Visayan Electric Co. nagpadayon pa sila ug clearing operation ug hinay pa siga sa mga pipila ka lugar dinhi sa siyudad,” wrote the Cebu City Disaster Reduction Management Office (CCDRMO) on a Facebook post.

(We urge all the residents of Cebu City to avoid playing with firecrackers or smoking in public areas because the Visayan Electric Co. is still slowly conducting their clearing operation in different places in the city.)

The restricted water supply caused by the power outage also means water supply for firefighters is limited.

The island wants to prevent further massive disasters as it reels from the damage wrought by Odette a week later. In Cebu City alone, the city’s data management branch has estimated it at P1.7 billion.

On Thursday, December 23, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama has asked President Rodrigo Duterte for P5 billion to fund Cebu City’s recovery efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

The early part of the year is when most neighborhood fires happen in Cebu.

Many homes have already been decimated by the typhoon as it is and residents are only beginning to rebuild.

Water supply in the province has been low primarily due to the lack of electricity. Without electricity, pumps coming from the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) are unable to deliver safe tap and drinking water supply to residents in Cebu.

The MCWD also asked residents to stop opening stub-outs – the end portions of a water distribution line where meters of service connections are attached – in some areas so that they can fetch water.

“Destruction of stub-outs can result in contamination of water that might cause diarrhea and other ailments. This can also further lessen the already scarce supply because water is wasted as flow from damaged stub-outs could not be controlled unless repaired,” they wrote in a Facebook post. –