By Jeanne Michael Penaranda
QUEZON CITY—The death toll from Typhoon Odette has reached 407 with 82 still missing over the weekend as government and private groups stepped up distribution of calamity aid and relief goods and recovery from loss of power, water and telecommunications, among others.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad described Odette as the most destructive storm to hit the country since super typhoon Yolanda over eight years ago.
In a taped meeting, Jalad told President Rodrigo Duterte that Odette damaged around 597,000 houses and damage to infrastructures was estimated at at P18 billion and P10.9 billion for agriculture.
In its latest situation report, the agency said damage to agriculture has amounted to P10.9 billion from the regions of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.
On the other hand, infrastructure damage has climbed to P17.7 billion in Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, Caraga and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Damaged houses were placed at 1,360,203 and these were incurred in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and BARMM.
Of these, 991,762 were classified as lightly damaged and 368,411 were listed as totally damaged.
Odette affected some 4.8 million people, with around 475,000 staying at evacuation centers or with relatives and friends, he said.
The typhoon knocked out power in 284 cities and towns. Electricity has been restored in 206 of them, he said.
Duterte, who visited the affected areas, has promised P10 billion in recovery efforts and the government expect to distribute P4.8 billion in cash aid to typhoon survivors this week.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said LGUs have 15 days to complete the payout and will have to form a grievance and appeals committee to act on all the complaints regarding aid payout.
To ensure that only the qualified beneficiaries get aid, Año ordered the LGUs “to post on social media or conspicuous places the list of eligible recipients prior to the distribution”.
He said the government assured that each individual will receive P1,000 while families can get a maximum of P5,000 in regions affected by the recent typhoon.
In a briefing with President Dutere, Año emphasized that the intended beneficiaries are low-income families and those severely affected by the weather disturbance
With six regions severely devastated by Typhoon Odette, Año said that 27 provinces, cities, and municipalities were affected with Palawan being hardest hit getting P195 million cash aid.
In Region 7 (Central Visayas), Año revealed that P1.6 billion monetary aid was given to 134 cities and municipalities with Negros Occidental getting the lion’s share of P1.059 billion.
Some 109 cities and municipalities in Central Visayas were affected by the typhoon with Negros Oriental receiving P475 million and Cebu province getting P458 million cash aids.
The DILG chief reported that 64 cities and towns in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) were also benefited from the payout with Southern Leyte being allotted P409 million.
In Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), Año said that five provinces comprising 57 cities and municipalities were the recipients of the government’s assistance with Misamis Oriental getting the highest amount of P99 million
“At ito naman po ang CARAGA or Region 13 na nagco-cover sa 71 cities and municipalities that were severely affected. Ang Surigao Provinces, Del Sur and Del Norte, ang mataas na makakakuha ng allocation at P233 million and P213 million, respectively (And here in CARAGA or Region 13 covering 27 cities and municipalities that were severely affected Surigao Provinces, Del Sur and Del Norte were given the highest allocation of P233 million and P213 million respectively),’’ he added.
Dinagat Islands received P133 million since it has a comparatively smaller population compared to the other provinces in Region 13.
In another briefing, it was reported that power restoration in Bohol remains limited almost three weeks after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Department of Energy (DOE) director Mario Marasigan said the available capacity of power generation facilities servicing Bohol is at 47 percent, or only at 28 megawatts.
Of the three transmission lines that were affected in the provinces, only one line was restored.
He said despite having an available power and transmission line restored to deliver electricity, restoration of distribution utilities (DUs) is still low.