14 dead, Dinagat Islands 'leveled to the ground' during Odette onslaught: official

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2021 12:41 PM

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MANILA – Fourteen people died in Dinagat Islands as the province was ‘leveled to the ground’ by typhoon Odette, its information officer said Monday.

Image from Vice President Leni Robredo Facebook page
Image from Vice President Leni Robredo Facebook page

“Just to be frank about it Dinagat Islands has been leveled to the ground, even our provincial capitol didn’t survive,” said Jeff Crisostomo on ANC’s “Rundown.”

“The governor’s residence, just like Governor Yap in Bohol, it was also affected by the typhoon. Governor Kaka Bag-ao’s house, her roof was blown off by the strong winds,” he added.

 

Crisostomo said he himself was trapped in a building during the typhoon, where he saw its powerful winds destroyed property.

“I was there during the typhoon, trapped in a building. I saw tables that were heavier than people being blown off from the second floor. And then when we got out, I saw the devastation, the houses were all destroyed.”

“At this point our latest count is we have 14,000 or more totally damaged houses, and right now our casualties have already climbed to 14.”

“Even if that would be in the eyes of some, a small number, for us one death in any disaster is one death too many,” he stressed.

He said they are now appealing for help—from both the national government and kind-hearted Filipinos—for their constituents.

“Many are left homeless, many don’t have food anymore, or drinking water.”

“That’s why we’re asking for help from not just the national government but our citizens all over the Philippines and our partners abroad to send help in the form of water, potable water, food, temporary shelters, building materials, fuel so that we can deliver the goods to the different--the 100 barangays, especially in our island barangays in our seven municipalities.”

Crisostomo said Dinagatnons made homeless by the typhoon are staying in evacuation centers. He stressed, however, that these buildings have been damaged as well.

“Yes after the typhoon we saw that our evacuation centers were also partially damaged from having roofs torn off, especially the schools, but our permanent evacuation centers are still standing but are also damaged.”

He also noted that they need help with building materials for the people of Dinagat Islands.

“That’s why we need help in building materials and people who would actually help us in rebuilding those houses.”

“We now have shortages in supplies in the province, especially since we’re an island province. We won’t be able to replenish our supplies for construction, for building the houses,” he said.

The official said they are now working with the private sector to bring back communications systems to the island.

“Gov. Kaka Bag-ao is directly talking to Globe Telecom and they’re scheduled to be in Dinagat this morning…and hopefully they can fix their signal, at least for Globe.”

“And then the Office of Civil Defense, and the Department of Information and Communications technology are also in Dinagat Islands to install VSATS, V-satellites so we can have at least signal in certain places and especially in our operations center.”

He also said they have started to receive a few relief packs from both the national government and private sector.

“Gov. Kaka Bag-ao spoke directly with President Duterte a few days ago, they committed to provide relief packs from, food packs from DSWD. The initial batch already I think arrived yesterday.”

“Aside from that, several private organizations, from civil society and non-government organizations have also committed to provide support. Right now since we don’t have communication in the island, we have partners in civil society who are helping us with logistics,” he added.

--ANC, 20 December 2021