Odette's 'dangerous winds' batter Visayas, Mindanao

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2021 08:19 PM | Updated as of Dec 16 2021 11:52 PM

 Rescue team from the Philippine Army 1501st Community Defense Center help evacuate affected residents of Bgy. Libertad in Butuan City on Thursday as Typhoon Odette looms. 1501st CDC/PA handou
Rescue team from the Philippine Army 1501st Community Defense Center help evacuate affected residents of Bgy. Libertad in Butuan City on Thursday as Typhoon Odette looms. 1501st CDC/PA handout

Odette makes 3rd, 4th landfalls in S. Leyte, 5th in Bohol; more landfalls expected

MANILA (UPDATE) - Trees have been toppled, roofs were blown away, and power supply disrupted as Typhoon Odette (International name: Rai) battered the Visayas and Mindanao on Thursday where it made at least five landfalls as of early evening.

"Matindi, malakas," said Danilo Atienza, disaster office chief of Southern Leyte where the typhoon hit land twice - at 4:50 p.m. in Liloan, Panaon Island, and at 5:40 p.m. in Padre Burgos.

(It is really strong.)

"Talagang malakas. Ang mga kahoy ay natutumba na. Ang mga ceiling ay baklas na," Atienza told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo by phone. Shortly after his statement, a banging sound was heard in the background. 

(It is really strong. The trees have already fallen, the ceilings have been ripped off.)

Odette, which entered the Philippine area of responsibility on Tuesday evening, was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to 270 kph, as of 4:50 p.m., state weather bureau PAGASA said.

The country's 15th storm this year first hit land over Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte at around 1:30 p.m., and then made another landfall at around 3:10 p.m. over Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands.

After the two landfalls in Southern Leyte, Odette hit land for the fifth time over Pres. Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol around 6:30 p.m.

ABS-CBN's chief meteorologist Ariel Rojas said Odette is projected to make multiple other landfalls. As of 4:50 p.m., it was moving westward at 30 kph.

ABS-CBN regional correspondent Ranulfo Docdocan described the wind in his area in Leyte as dangerous that at one point, he said he needed to stay inside the house.

"Wala nang ulan. Humupa na yung ulan. Pero lumakas yung hangin. Kaninang hapon, sumasayaw lang yung mga punong kahoy. Pero parang ngayon, kaya na niyang buwagin yung puno ng niyog at puno ng saging," Docdocan said on ABS-CBN's Pasada sa TeleRadyo past 5 p.m.

(There are no more rains, but the wind got stronger. Earlier this afternoon, the trees were just swaying. But now, it seems that the wind can already topple coconut trees and banana trees.) 

"Sa katunayan nga, pumasok na ako ng bahay kasi parang delikado. Isa ito sa masasabi ko na delikado na lumabas na yung tao kasi puwedeng lumipad yung yero at puwede ring lumipad yung mga debris," he added.

(In fact, I went inside my house because it has become dangerous. I could say that the situation has become as such because roofs and debris could be blown away by the wind.)

Power supply was also cut, although their internet and mobile connection was still working.

"Kami dito sa bahay, kinakabahan po. Natatakot din po... Sobrang lakas po ng hangin sa labas. Ang mga puno napuputol na po dito," said Teresa Lozano, who spoke to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo by phone from their home in MacArthur, Leyte.

(We are nervous here and scared. The wind outside is so strong. Trees have been cut.)

Lozano said she was with a group of 15, including her babies.

They also experienced power outage.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said a number of transmission lines in the Visayas and Mindanao were down amid the typhoon. 

"Nag-igib po kami ng tubig kanina tapos may poso na po dito... parang guguho na po ang bahay namin [kanina] kaya lumipat na po kami dito," Lozano said.

(We already stored water and we have a well here... We move to another house because our house earlier looked like it could be destroyed.)

Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap, also in an interview over TeleRadyo, said nearly 9,000 individuals (around 5,600 families) were already evacuated in their province.

Yap said they moved people to safety ahead of the expected landfall of Odette in the province later Thursday.

"We are still moving people to areas of safety... Malakas po ang ulan at malakas po ang hangin based on the report... Nararamdaman namin yun, nakikita namin," Yap said.

(The rain and the wind are strong, based on reports... We are feeling it, and seeing it.)

"Kung ang pag-uusapan natin, 'Can you feel it, can you see it?', definitely ramdam na ramdam namin yung lakas ng ulan at lakas ng hangin," he said.

(We are definitely experiencing the heavy rain and strong winds.)

Yap said he sought additional evacuation centers to prevent people from crowding. 

He said it is difficult to implement safety protocols against COVID-19 such as physical distancing in evacuation centers as families wish to stay together.

But he said they provided face masks and alcohol for evacuees. 

"At this point in time, ang mahirap dito, this is the time where families want to be together. Napakahirap silang i-separate ngayon. We are sensitive to the need of the children to be with their parents and the parents are also taking care of the elderly," he explained. 

"Aaminin ko na napakahirap ngayon sundin yung physical distancing. They are all coming together sa evacuation centers."

(I admit that it is hard to implement physical distancing.) 

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More than 98,000 people were preemptively evacuated due to Odette, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a press briefing in the afternoon.

Caraga has the most number of evacuees at 78,290, followed by Eastern Visayas (17,165), Central Visayas (2,336) and Northern Mindanao (300), the NDRRMC said. It has yet to provide an updated report.

Flooding was reported in some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, including in Cagayan de Oro City which marked Thursday the 10th anniversary of storm Sendong (International name: Washi), during which, over 1,000 in the city died.

Atienza of the Southern Leyte disaster office warned of storm surges in different localities there, saying, "Lahat po ng LGUs ay high risk po sa storm surge."

(All towns and cities here are considered high-risk for storm surge.)

The Philippine Coast Guard said the operation of 78 ports in the Visayas and Mindanao were affected by Odette, with thousands of passengers stranded.

"Nakita natin na talagang malaki'ng effect dito sa traveling public," PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo told TeleRadyo.

(We saw the major effect of the typhoon to the traveling public.)

Airlines have also cancelled dozens of flights.

STORM SIGNALS 

In its latest report, PAGASA said Odette will cross several provinces in the Central and Western Visayas regions before emerging over the Sulu Sea (on Friday) morning.

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The typhoon is also forecast to barrel the northern or central portion of Palawan on Friday afternoon or evening, before it emerges over the West Philippine Sea. 

Several areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, as well as parts of Luzon are under tropical cyclone wind signal numbers 1 to 4.

Around 20 storms traditionally hit the Philippines on average every year. According to PAGASA, its geographical location, with the Pacific Ocean to its east, makes the country prone to tropical cyclones.