By Teresa D. Ellera
NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is set to declare a state of calamity in the province as deaths caused by Typhoon Odette reached 32 as of Sunday, December 19.
Records from the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division (PDMPD) showed that Sipalay City has the most number of fatalities with 16.
Some 47 residents are still reported missing, PDMPD head Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian said.
As of Sunday, 15 residents were already rescued, while 14 are still missing, Caelian said.
Rescuers are having a hard time penetrating the typhoon-hit areas to conduct rescue operations as fallen trees and electric posts are blocking the roads, he said.
Residents also need food, water, hygiene kits, and generators as there’s still no power and communication signal, the official added.
Salvador Mesa III of the Sipalay City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) said the entire 17 barangays of the city were affected by Typhoon Odette.
About 7,000 houses were reportedly destroyed.
Over 3,000 residents have also evacuated their homes, Misa said.
Power lines are down, he said, adding that they were told that power restoration could take two to four months.
Sipalay City Police Station Chief Major James Latayon said floodwaters have already subsided and clearing operations are ongoing.
The main roads are already passable, he added.
The governor said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), which he chairs, will pass a resolution on Monday, December 20, for the declaration of state of calamity.
Once the province is under the state of calamity, it will enable the provincial government to utilize its Quick Response Fund, Lacson said.
The damage caused by the typhoon in the province may reach billions of pesos, he said.
For livestock and poultry sector alone, the initial damage is pegged at P596 million.
PDMPD records further showed that during the onslaught of the typhoon, about 93,696 residents were evacuated.
Initially, a total of 1,627 houses were destroyed and 5,312 were damaged.
BRP Nueva Vizcaya of the Philippine Coast Guard has been deployed in Sipalay City from Iloilo City.
On board are cargoes for distribution to affected families of Typhoon Odette such as house repair kits shelter kits, hygiene kits, family kits and a rubber boat with engine.
The 12-man crew is tasked to provide additional personnel for relief operations.