Philippine tropical cyclones

Odette death toll now 378, full power restoration seen in February

Pia Ranada
Odette death toll now 378, full power restoration seen in February

CRUMPLED WALLS. Homes in Southern Leyte take a beating from Typhoon Odette. Photo by Jazmin Bonifacio/Rappler

Over 100 LGUs still have no electricity, says the disaster response agency

MANILA, Philippines – Casualties of Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) reached 378, based on a report issued by the country’s disaster response agency a day after Christmas, Sunday, December 26. Meanwhile, 60 people are missing.

The number is 11 higher than the 367 deaths reported on Christmas Day by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). With the latest figures, the agency’s casualty count has surpassed the 375 initial count of the Philippine National Police last December 20.

Bohol is the province with the most number of deaths so far at 96, followed by Negros Oriental with 66 casualties. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Bohol – 96 deaths
  • Negros Oriental – 66 deaths
  • Cebu – 58 deaths
  • Negros Occidental – 40 deaths
  • Surigao del Norte – 31 death
  • Southern Leyte – 27 deaths
  • Dinagat Islands – 21 deaths
  • Palawan – 18 deaths
  • Agusan del Sur – 7 deaths
  • Misamis Oriental – 4 deaths
  • Iloilo – 2 deaths
  • Bukidnon – 2 deaths
  • Guimaras – 2 deaths
  • Leyte – 1 death
  • Misamis Occidental – 1 death
  • Butuan City – 1 death
  • Agusan del Norte – 1 death

One of those who died in Puerto Princesa, Palawan was a three-month old girl who was recorded by NDRRMC to have died because of a flash flood.

Drowning was one of the more common causes of death of Odette victims. Others were hurt by debris or were killed as their homes were damaged by the storm. A few were said to have died of hypothermia, according to the NRDDMC report.

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The agency has also pegged infrastructure damage at P4 billion. Agriculture sustained around P3 billion worth of losses, according to the agriculture department. Tens of thousands of families remain homeless well into the Christmas holiday.

Full restoration of power in February yet

The government has so far been able to restore power in 150 out of 269 cities and municipalities that experienced blackouts due to the typhoon, according to NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal in a Super Radyo dzBB interview on Sunday.

This means that 119 cities and municipalities still have no electricity.

Timbal said full restoration of electricity in affected areas may happen in February but that authorities are working double-time to reach that target in January.

“That is the scenario being shown, that it will take until February before power service will be fully restored. But I heard that they are trying to bring bnack services at the soonest time possible so that when the new year comes, or in January, our countrymen can enjoy power services already,” said Timbal in Filipino.

But even before the return of electricity, the more pressing problem for many Odette survivors is the loss of their houses. Restored power lines may not matter much if houses that use them are not rebuilt, said the NDRRMC official. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.