Thousands of families were evacuated across the Visayas regions as Typhoon Odette (Rai) rampaged through the central part of the Philippines after wreaking havoc in Mindanao on Thursday evening, December 16.
Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia announced around 9:30 pm Thursday that the Capitol would open its doors to residents seeking shelter.
“I am now actually stranded at the Capitol,” Garcia announced a few minutes earlier on her Facebook page.
The Cebu City government said more than 6,400 residents were evacuated hours before Odette was expected to make landfall at midnight.
Big shopping malls also opened their doors for citizens seeking shelter, providing free WiFi, charging stations, overnight parking, and other services from designated mall help desks.
The strong winds of Odette also toppled trees at the IT Park, in Apas, Cebu City around 8 pm. After a water spout hit the area, residents of condominium buildings said the normally pristine work-residence hub looked “like a war zone”.
Just before 10 pm Patrick Lewis Arboneda sent another video of what he described as an “ipo-ipo” or a water spout.
Arboneda also took a video of glass breaking in a building as the water spout struck the IT Park.
In another video, Patrick Lewis Arboneda catches glass breaking in a building as the water spout (ipo-ipo) strikes the IT Park, in Apas, Cebu City. via @artlubiano @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/8p63M19EYT— inday espina varona (@indayevarona) December 16, 2021
In Negros Occidental, Provincial Disaster Management Program Division Head Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian told Aksyon Radyo Bacolod he was expecting very rough seas around Bacolod City from 9:28 pm. He said Odette would pass through Negros Occidental from 10 pm to 2 am.
Caelian said 837 families evacuated as of 7 pm, December 16 from Escalante, Sagay, Silay, and Himamaylan, Cauayan and Hinigaran.
More than 500 individuals were also brought to four evacuation centers in Isabela town and officials said the numbers were rising as of 8 pm.
The local governments of Moises Padilla and Binalbagan in the southern part of the province also announced evacuations late this afternoon.
Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso Masobra said 130 families in the coastal town also evacuated.
Silay City cops brought 96 families of Sitio Roma, Brgy. Balaring Silay City to a school serving as evacuation center.
Negros Occidental Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson directed all local government units on Wednesday, December 15, to prepare preemptive evacuations to reduce the loss of lives from Odette.
Crews were busy clearing roads of felled trees in Sagay City, in the province’s northern part.
In Bacolod, the capital, a huge tree and two electrical posts fell down in front of a BPO building near the vicinity of the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol.
The Bacolod City information office said 693 individuals or 162 families were evacuated by barangay disaster risk reduction teams. Half of these, or 300 individuals, evacuated to JR Torres Elementary School in Brgy. Singcang Airport.
The whole of Negros Occidental also plunged into darkness due to a major power outage.
The Central Negros Electric Cooperative said that as of 10 pm, Thursday all of its coverage areas were under “a total blackout. As much as we wanted to restore power supply the soonest possible time, we are impeded to perform line restoration activities at this time due to very strong winds. Power restoration will resume as soon as possible.”
Eastern, Central Visayas
In Bohol province, Odette made two landfalls early in the evening, in President Carlos Garcia, at 6:30 pm and Bien Unido at 7:30 pm.
Governor Arthur Yap announced mid afternoon that dams were spilling water but not yet within critical levels.
Rey Barnes, the Executive Director of Duyog Marawi who was caught in Bohol by the typhoon, told Rappler the wind sounded “as if a jet plane just flew above the rooftop”. He said their concrete house was shaking amid clangs of flying GI sheets all around.
There were reports of massive damage in Maasin, Southern Leyte but due to power failure and many downed telecommunication lines, no clear picture has emerged.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) said it had prepositioned at 22,311 family food packs (FFPs) ahead of Typhoon Odette’s landfall.
The Guiuan municipal government started the forced evacuation of coastal barangay residents early Wednesday, December 15.
Rodrigo Jay Miralles, Eastern Visayas senior geologist of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), said on Tuesday night, December 14, that certain areas of a total of 3,124 barangays in Leyte, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar were at risk in terms of landslide and flooding.
The Iloilo City government said 2,486 individuals or 663 families from 17 barangays had been brought to 20 evacuation centers. The city government also provided food packs and hot meals prepared for the evacuees.
Jeck Conlu also added that emergency responders are also present on standby in all 7 districts.
Evacuates residents were mostly from coastal barangays including Bito-on in Jaro, and Sto. Niño Norte and Sto. Niño Sur in Arevalo
Conlu said that the city government has deployed water tanks to evacuation centers and that Metro Pacific Iloilo Water also had tanks on standby.
Rappler will update this story as developments come. – with reports from Art Lubiano, Joseph B.A. Marzan, John Sitchon, Lance Lim, Lorraine Ecarma, Ryan Macasero /Rappler.com