With phone lines down, Surigao City mayor asks for aid to be sent to city hall

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2021 12:32 AM

SURIGAO CITY - Surigao City’s mayor called for donors of food and other assistance to the typhoon-hit city to bring these items straight to the city hall even without prior coordination as communication lines remain down.

Along with many areas of Surigao Del Norte province, Surigao City has yet to restore electricity and mobile signal communication three days since the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

"Maraming gustong tumulong, wala naman kaming communication. Kaya ang gustong tumulong diretso na lang po dito sa city hall,” Mayor Ernesto Matugas Jr. told ABS-CBN News on Sunday.

(There are many who want to help, but communication lines are down. For those who want to help, just go to the city hall.)

The city’s command center has yet to receive updates on the impact of the storm on its 21 island barangays due to loss of communications.

Only 20 villages out of the 54 have so far reported about their situation, with some of the officials of these areas personally going to City Hall to give their updates.

The city enlisted the local Coast Guard to conduct a sea patrol on the areas to assess

The city lists 2 dead from the storm. A casualty earlier listed as the third was removed from the tally after officials learned the person succumbed to sickness. Lack of telco services as well as blocked roads have been hampering the local government's relief efforts, Matugas said.

"Hanggang ngayon wala pa po kaming mga contact. Kumusta po ba sila? Mayroon ba silang mga casualty? Ano kailangan nila? So isa pa rin ‘yan sa mga major problem," he said.

(Until now we don't have contact. How are they? Do they have casualties? What do they need? That is also one of the major problems.)

As of Sunday morning, 80 percent of access roads to the city have already been cleared.

Matugas said many residents, especially in coastal areas, will need building materials to reconstruct their houses.

"Ang mga Surigaonon, resilient kahit bago-bago lang parang balik-normal kaagad ‘yong buhay nila. Kailangan lang natin ma-provide sila ng kailangan nila—pagkain, shelter, pambahay para maka-repair sila,” he said.

(Surigaonons are resilient, we can recover fast. We just need to provide them with their need - food, shelter, materials to repair their houses.)

The local executive said that their most immediate needs are electricity, water and telco services. However, he said it could take months before these services can be brought back.

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