MANILA — At least 18 people have died in Surigao del Norte after the powerful Typhoon Odette pummeled the province last week, local officials said Sunday.
It was unclear if the numbers have been included in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's official tally.
Of the figure, 12 fatalities came from the popular tourist destination of Siargao Island, where the typhoon first made landfall last Thursday, packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour.
The other deaths are from Surigao City and the municipalities of Claver, San Francisco and Tubod.
The provincial administrator said the death toll is expected to rise as reports from Siargao Island, where communication lines are still down, continue to come in.
Officials said there was still difficulty in reaching Siargao after the island's pier sustained damage from Odette, the strongest typhoon to enter the Philippines this year.
The Caraga regional police has deployed 400 officers in Surigao del Norte to assist in clearing and relief operations, and maintaining peace and order.
Some of the cops will be deployed in Siargao and Dinagat Islands, where the typhoon made second landfall.
Police were also deployed in supermarkets, where long lines of people buying supplies have formed.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it delivered the first batch of relief goods for families affected by the storm in Surigao del Norte.
The supplies — which arrived in Siargao Island and Del Carmen town — include hygiene kits, food packs, clothes, vitamins, pillows, comforters, and blankets.
Forty-seven tourists who were stranded in Siargao Island during the storm have also safely returned to Manila, transported by the flight that carried the relief supplies, the PCG said in a statement.
— Report from Dennis Datu, ABS-CBN News