No electricity until December: Rolly-battered Tabaco City appeals for help

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2020 10:22 AM | Updated as of Nov 03 2020 11:10 AM

An aerial view shows destroyed buildings with ripped off roofs after Super Typhoon Rolly hit the town of Tabaco, Albay on Sunday. Charism Sayat, AFP

MANILA – A town in Albay province is appealing for help to cope with the widespread destruction brought by typhoon Rolly.

With thousands left homeless and damage pegged at P2 billion, Tabaco City needs food, water, and housing materials, said Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro

“Tabaco was directly hit by typhoon Rolly. Fifty percent of the homes are damaged in various stages of unrepair,” she said on ANC.

Heritage structures such as the century-old St. John The Baptist Church were also not spared by Rolly. As of Tuesday, communication and power lines are still down.

“We anticipate there will be no electricity until December,” Luistro said, citing previous experience with typhoon Nina in 2016 where restoration activities took several months.

Rolly, which is the world’s strongest storm this year, tore through southern Luzon Sunday, triggering floods and inundated villages.

The weather disturbance, which had reached a super typhoon category, also killed at least 20 people, disaster officials said.

Luistro said about 3,000 people were still staying in schools, which were converted as evacuation centers, as their houses were damaged by Rolly.

“We request from the national government and private donors to help restore their homes so that they can go back to their villages,” she said.

As more storms are expected to hit the country before the end of 2020, Luistro said displaced residents must remain in evacuation centers while rehabilitation efforts are ongoing.

State weather bureau PAGASA said 1 to 3 tropical cyclones were expected to cross the Philippines in November while December may have 2 or 3 storms.

Luistro also said they would need their advance share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), as most of their calamity fund had been spent to address the COVID-19 crisis.

“Many of the local government units heavily affected by this typhoon need the funds now and not later,” she said.