Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia has issued an executive order declaring a state of calamity in Cebu Province to allow local government units (LGUs) to access funds for calamity response and rebuilding in the wake of powerful Typhoon Odette (Rai).
Garcia, in an interview with the Capitol-run Sugbo News Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, said the priority now is to clear the roads of debris to provide access to areas ravaged by the typhoon and facilitate calamity response.
Typhoon Odette's violent 175 km/h winds with gustiness of up to 240 km/h tore off roofs, toppled trees and utility posts, and smashed houses and other structures. Some roads were still blocked by debris and were not passable as of Friday afternoon.
Garcia said she will call private contractors to a meeting Saturday, Dec. 18, to ask them to lend their equipment for the clearing of roads.
"I will be asking them to offer their equipment, including chainsaws and backhoes, in order to clear national roads ug I know nga daghang barangays ron nga walay access (and I know that many barangays now are not accessible)," Garcia told Sugbo News.
Garcia said she was coordinating with the mayors to determine which barangays need immediate access.
Another priority is to help Cebuanos rebuild homes that were destroyed or damaged by the typhoon.
"We will be providing the affected families with, first of all, GI (galvanized iron) sheets, plywood, framing, kahoy (wood), lansang (nails)," she said.
She said "not much casualties" have been reported so far, probably due to the extensive preparations made by the local governments, especially the disaster risk reduction and management offices.
Garcia will also meet with distribution utilities Visayan Electric Co. and Cebu Electric Cooperative (CEBECO) to determine the timeline for the restoration of power supply, which was cut off when the typhoon struck Thursday evening.
"We understand that they really have a gargantuan task. You saw all the electrical post, wires that have been ravaged (by the typhoon)," she said.
With no electricity, water pumps have also stopped operating and majority of Cebuanos have had no running water since Thursday.
The governor inspected the southern Cebu towns first because the typhoon made landfall in the vicinity of Carcar City at around 10 p.m., Dec. 16. (MVI/Ventures Cebu)