MANILA— Damage to infrastructure and agriculture brought by Typhoon Odette in Southern Leyte is estimated at P3 billion, the Department of Public Works and Highways said Tuesday.
"Very extensive talaga ang damage. It is like similar to [Typhoon] Yolanda," Public Works Secretary and Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado told TeleRadyo.
He was referring to the monster storm that devastated the Visayas in 2013, leaving over 6,300 people dead.
Majority of houses in Southern Leyte were destroyed by the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year.
Odette, which made landfall in the towns of Liloan and Padre Burgos, left 19 people dead and 8 injured in the province, Mercado said. Five others are still missing.
"Meron ding (There's also a) storm surge. In fact, most of the dead [was] caused by the storm surge here in Southern Leyte," he added.
Since the typhoon struck last Thursday, the province is still without power and water supply, and communication services.
Mercado said locals need food, water and construction materials. As most evacuation centers were damaged, some residents are living on the street in makeshift tents.
"We are now undergoing clearing operation to make all our highways and roads passable," he said. "We are also undergoing restoration of our power lines with the help of other electric cooperatives within Region 8."
Mercado said the DPWH had already exhausted its calamity fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and had only P100 million left this year.
"Sa P100 million, we distributed an average of P20 million per region for their initial [supply of] fuel and oil on the clearing operation to make our highways passable," he said.
Nationwide, the number of storm-related deaths climbed throughout Monday as rescue efforts continued in hard-hit areas.
To date, the death toll from Odette has risen to 375, police said in a report, making it one of the deadliest typhoons to hit the Philippines. The number of injured has climbed to 500, while 56 people are missing.
The count, which according to police was subject to validation, is far from the 58 deaths recorded by the national disaster agency, which said it was still checking reports from affected areas.
The majority of the deaths reported by police were in the central region of Visayas, home to dive spots in Bohol province, among some of the most popular tourist destinations, and the Caraga region in northeastern Mindanao.
Odette, with international name Rai, displaced nearly 490,000 people in the Philippines before moving toward the South China Sea over the weekend.
It also left a trail of destruction in the provinces of Cebu, Leyte and Surigao del Norte, and the Dinagat Islands.
—With a report from Reuters