Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Anthony Damalerio who described Typhoon Odette as “the worst ever” to hit Bohol said early Friday that Governor Art Yap has recommended for the declaration of a state of calamity after the storm left in its wake massive devastation on agriculture and infrastructure and inundated swaths of the island.
According to Damalerio, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will convene “soonest” to make the declaration.
“Siguro mo agree ta na worst typhoon ever to to hit Bohol in recent history. Wa pa tay clear assessment…but definitely based sa recommendation ni governor ug sa PDRRMO, the soonest mo declare ang SP ug state of calamity,” said Damalerio in an interview over station dyRD.
“All areas indicating to a declaration of a state of calamity masud gyud tanan criteria,” he added.
Typhoon Odette which made landfall in Bohol at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday pummeled the province starting Thursday afternoon until dawn Friday, damaging power facilities and plunging the island into darkness.
Damalerio said various agencies and local governments were unable to deploy rescue teams at the height of Odette’s onslaught.
“There was no way na makagawas ang atong emergency response teams province-wide, mismong mga rescuers na ang mga nangatrap, zero visibility and with imminent threat to life gyud sa atong emergency responders,” said Damalerio.
The PDRRMO chief added that he had initially thought the rescue operations would go on full blast after the storm moved away from the province early on Friday. However, debris and roadblocks left in the wake of the storm’s onslaught hampered movement of disaster response teams.
For instance, a rescue team from Tagbilaran City that was deployed for rescue operations in Loboc, one of the worst-hit towns in the province, could not reach the municipality due to debris and floods.
“Thought rescue and relief teams can move after typhoon, but even at daybreak dili kalihok. A team fron Tagbilaran to Loboc left 5 a.m. At 6:30 a.m., the team is still in Baclayon. That’s how bad the road blocks are,” he said.
The provincial government however has yet to assess the total damage caused by the typhoon and account for possible injuries and deaths.
Damalerio also noted that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has not given updates as to when power will be restored in the province.
On Thursday night, Governor Art Yap announced a province-wide power outage caused by the shutdown of the 138-kilovolt Leyte-Bohol submarine cable due to “severe weather” conditions.
He said that harsh weather “led to sparking on the High Voltage Equipment at C.P. Garcia Cable Terminal Station.”
Bohol which has inadequate in-island power sources is almost solely dependent on power supply from Leyte.
NCCP Visayas spokesperson Betty Martinez on Friday morning said weak cellular signal has hampered communications with substations in the province delaying the issuance of advisories.
In its latest bulletin issued at 8 a.m. on Friday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Odette was last spotted at 155 km. southwest of Iloilo City or 90 km. southeast of Cuyo, Palawan.
Odette has weakened from its previous intensity when it was still crossing Bohol at a peak strength of 195 km/h.
PAGASA said as of Friday morning the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 155 km/h near the center, gustiness of up to 235 km/h, and central pressure of 955 hPa.