Thirty days after Odette, Dinagat residents still need help
Dinagat Islands, 30 days after Odette, is still in disarray, as if the typhoon struck only a few days ago. Debris still litter the streets, with local governments struggling to source chainsaws and other equipment for clearing. Even in the busy port town of San Jose, the battered landscape remains a jarring testament to typhoon Odette's wrath.
In remote coastal villages, especially the ones on the East facing the open waters of the Pacific, the storm surge “as high as the coconut trees” washed away whole sitios, with their inhabitants barely making it to the safety of higher ground. Some unfortunate souls did not make it, swallowed by the raging waters loaded with lethal debris. Families could only watch in horror as the raging waters swallowed their village in seething white foam.
CARAGA reported 71 casualties, 508 injured and 5 still missing based on the numbers released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council on January 16.
In the village of Boa, one of the hardest-hit barangays in Dinagat, many still walk around dazed, staring in the distance.
Residents do not know where to source their next meal when the relief goods run out. The situation makes it difficult for them to work to provide food on the table if they wanted to. All their boats have been swept away, and engines, which were removed in anticipation of the storm, are now rusting.
Most currently stay in makeshift shelters with tarps and bamboo poles, cooking their meals, boiling water for instant noodles in whatever containers and utensils they have been able to salvage from the mud and surrounding hills.
The seeming lack of assistance from government agencies raises concern from those severely affected particularly in far-flung communities. The people are hungry, desperate, and traumatized and they wonder if help is coming.
International NGOs trickle in with their relief goods but seem to be focusing their resources mostly on neighboring Siargao Island. The rest of the country does not seem to realize yet how badly the Dinagat Islands have been hit by typhoon Odette.
Thirty days after, the Dinagatnons, left to fend for themselves, only have their inherent resilience and culture of “pahina” or “bayanihan” (cooperative undertaking) to rely on.
The extent of damage to these structures near the port of San Jose in the Dinagat Islands attests to the ferocity of winds brought by typhoon Odette which suddenly intensified as it neared the CARAGA region on December 16. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Mabini, an island accessible only by a 1-hour boat ride from the Pier of Cagdianao town was severely hit by typhoon Odette with around 100 houses completely destroyed. Shelter, food and medicine are still direly needed by Dinagatnons. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
A resident attempts to clear some debris around her grandson’s home as her hut is being demolished to make way for the construction of a makeshift shelter. Many senior citizens in the Dinagat Islands live alone as their children have already migrated elsewhere. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Workers clear debris in Barangay Boa, in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands. Barangay Boa is among the worst hit by Typhoon Odette in the Dinagat Islands. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Visitacion Montecalvo was in Surigao city when typhoon Odette suddenly intensified and struck the Dinagat Islands on December 16. Upon returning on December 22, she found her home roofless and all her belongings waterlogged. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Visitacion Montecalvo secures valuables at her damaged house in Dinagat Islands. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
A man tears down what remains of his home, rendered beyond repair by typhoon Odette, which struck Barangay R. Ecleo in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Typhoon Odette damaged many structures in the Dinagat Islands. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
The public school of Basilisa in the Dinagat Islands, which sits on a small hill overlooking the town, felt typhoon Odette's wrath. The school was preparing for limited face-to-face classes in January after more than two years of module-based learning when typhoon Odette tore off the school’s roof and damaged learning materials and classrooms, many of which are beyond salvaging. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
A school teacher spends times with her children at her home, which was damaged by typhoon Odette after it made landfall in Dinagat Islands on December 16. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
A resident clears the wreckage of her former home in Barangay Mahayahay in the Municipality of San Jose, Dinagat Islands. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
Families in Baranggay Boa in the Municipality of Cagdiangao build temporary shelters where their houses once stood. A series of storm surges at the height of typhoon Odette brought waves "as high as the coconut trees" according to survivors. Majority of houses in the barangay have been leveled to the ground. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
An elderly resident of Barangay Boa in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands, rests among damaged structures and debris a month after typhoon Odette struck the province. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
An elderly woman in Baranggay Boa in the municipality of Cagdianao was fortunate to have evacuated to higher ground ahead of typhoon Odette which according to survivors brought powerful storm surges "as high as coconut trees." Baranggay Boa, as well several other coastal villages facing the Pacific have been leveled to the ground. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News
The remains of a chapel in the island Barangay of Mabini in Cagdianao, in the Dinagat Islands, in the aftermath of typhoon Odette. Leonard Reyes, ABS-CBN News