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Almost 99% of population in Siargao, including tourists, affected by Odette —Matugas


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Almost 99% of population in Siargao, including tourists, affected by Odette —Matugas

Almost 99% of the population of Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, including tourists, were affected by Typhoon Odette, Surigao del Norte Representative Francisco Jose Matugas II said on Saturday.

"Siguro 90% ng 180,000 na population o 99% ng population doon kasama na 'yung mga turista [ang apektado ng bagyong Odette]," Matugas said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(Around 90% of the 180,000 population, or 99% of the population including tourists [were affected by Typhoon Odette].)

Matugas said according to his father, Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas, the island had "total devastation."

"Sabi niya, total devastation talaga ang buong Siargao. So far, sa paglibot niya yesterday, sa limited na paglibot niya, wala siyang building na nakitang nakatayo. 'Yung mga sementado, either wala ng roof or kalahati na lang," he said.

(According to him, the whole of Siargao suffered total devastation. So far, based on his ocular inspection, although limited, he did not see a single building standing intact. Buildings made of cement either had no more roof or were just half-standing.)

Matugas said around 80% of municipal buildings were heavily damaged. The hospital, however, suffered only minimal damage.

"Mostly na mga 80% ng municipal buildings, mahirap na pasukan kasi nakakatakot na. 'Yung ospital naman, dahil located siya sa isang tago na lugar, minimal lang daw 'yung damage sa ospital," he added.

(Mostly, around 80% of municipal buildings, are so heavily damaged that it would be dangerous to enter them. As for the hospital, because it is located in a remote area, it had only minimal damage.)

Even the airport terminal was totally damaged.

"'Yung tama ng Odette, direct hit kami, so kahit inland [tinamaan]. Kahit nga bahay nga namin, bumagsak. Inland, bumagsak din," Matugas said.

(Odette headed directly for Siargao, so even inland areas suffered damage. Even our own house fell. Those inland also were heavily damaged.]

Typhoon Odette first made landfall over Siargao Island at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, before making landfall over the Dinagat Islands at 3:10 p.m. The two areas were under Tropical Cylone Wind Signal No. 4 then.

Matugas said no figures could be given yet as to how many are in evacuation centers.

"Wala pang bilang kasi nag-conduct ng preemptive evacuation a week before pagdating ni Odette. Lahat nasa evacuation center especially those staying beside sa dagat, sa dalampasigan," he said.

(We have no numbers yet because the local government conducted preemptive evacuation a week before Typhoon Odette's arrival. All are staying in evacuation centers especially those residing by the sea.)

Matugas appealed on Friday for assistance from the national government to help affected communities in the province.

On Saturday, he said the island remains isolated and can only be reached by air.

"Isolated siya. By air lang talaga," Matugas said.

(The island is isolated. It can only be reached by air.)

The lawmaker said they were able to organize relief operations and five tons of relief goods were scheduled to be airlifted at 8 a.m. on Saturday to be brought to the island.

"Every day nagkakaroon tayo ng relief operations pero through air lahat," he said. The Philippine Red Cross was among those assisting, the lawmaker said.

(Every day we have relief operations but via air.)

Matugas said his father also requested for satellite phones that mayors could use so they can report the situation in their municipalities.

"Grabe, wala pong communication since 12 noon noong December 16," he said, adding that he requested for help that the military could bring a satellite phone to his father who was on the ground in Siargao. It was only on Friday night that his father was reached via satellite phone and it was the only time they were able to find out the situation on the island.

Matugas said the weather in Siargao was better on Friday.

"Medyo nag-subside 'yung baha. Hindi naman na-report ng father ko na malaki ang storm surge. Ang hangin talaga, matindi 'yung hangin," he said.

(The floodwaters have somewhat subsided. My father did not report a huge storm surge. The winds however were very strong and intense.)

Damage is estimated to cost at least P20 billion, Matugas said.

As of Friday, two people were reported dead, he added.

The Department of Energy on Friday said eight provinces, including Surigao del Norte, were left totally without electricity after Typhoon Odette damaged transmission lines as it crossed the Visayas and Mindanao. —KG, GMA News

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