Nalzaro: Odette’s aftermath: We will rise up again

·4 min read

The Cebuanos experienced the fury and wrath of super typhoon Odette last Thursday night, December 16. And the worst is not yet over as we are still dealing with its aftermath. But what shall we do now? Well, we have to pick up the shattered pieces brought by the super typhoon and start rebuilding ourselves. With the Cebuanos’ resiliency, we will rise up together again.

Packing some 200-kilometer per hour winds and gustiness, super typhoon Odette, with international name Rai, unleashed its fury last Thursday between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Metro Cebu and in the province after its landfall which devastated Surigao and other areas in Mindanao and Bohol province. The country’s weather bureau, Pagasa, described it as the strongest cyclone to hit the country in recent years after super typhoon Yolanda that hit Region 8 in 2013. It was equally strong but more destructive than super typhoon Ruping that hit Cebu in the 1990s.

Odette knocked down electric posts, communication lines and towers, big trees and blew away big and small houses. As of this writing, the whole of Cebu especially those areas under the franchise of the Visayan Electric are still in total darkness. The electric company said it will not energize its feeders unless all lines are cleared to avoid electrocution and fire incidents.

Davao Light and Power Company, a sister company of the Visayan Electric, has sent its electricians to help restore lights here. And because of the power problem, the supply of water has also become a problem. The Metropolitan Cebu Water District cannot operate its pumping stations as these are power generated. It has to implement water rations to majority of its customers.

Because some electric posts are down, landlines and mobile communication are also down. There is weak cellular phone signal in some major areas. People who have cellphones cannot also use their gadgets because they cannot recharge these for lack of power supply. In the first two days after the typhoon and even until now, some areas in Cebu are isolated from the rest of the world because of communication problems.

Most radio and TV stations were off the air after the typhoon struck Cebu because their towers and antenna were also down. Other broadcast stations used their standby generators, but some could not operate them extensively because of lack of fuel supply. Motorists and those who have generator sets are lining up at the various gasoline stations. Gas stations have also encountered limited supplies of fuel as their distributors failed to deliver supplies. There is a scarcity of gas supplies and even water.

Most people have the money as some have just received their Christmas bonuses. But the problem in the banking industry is the cash withdrawals from ATM machines. Some banks have closed their ATM machines maybe because of electricity problem or shortage of cash. Bank clients are lining up at various ATM outlets.

People are also patiently lining up in the groceries and supermarkets to buy food. Good that there has been no chaos and looting, like what happened in Tacloban City after Yolanda, following its massive devastation. I am not saying that the Warays are undisciplined compared to the Cebuanos, but that scenario is expected if people are already hungry and in dire need of food. As they say, “Hungry people know no law.” But it’s not happening here, at least for now. Although we are in crisis, peace and order still prevail.

In view of the scarcity of gas supply, food, water and construction materials, I hope that the business sector will not take advantage of the situation by hoarding their supplies and increasing the prices of their goods. Because we are in a calamity, the Department of Trade and Industry has already imposed a price freeze on all basic and essential products.

I don’t want to be emotional about our situation now, but I can only sympathize with our brothers and sisters who have been hardest hit by the catastrophe. It’s five days before Christmas, and I am sure that some of us will be having a bleak one because they’ve lost their loved ones and suffered property damage. But with God’s grace, we will rise up together again. Merry Christmas in advance.

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