Power, communication lines still out in parts of Eastern Visayas after Ursula onslaught

Robie de Guzman
Motorists wade through water on a flooded road on Christmas day in the typhoon-hit city of Ormoc, Philippines, 25 December 2019. 

MANILA, Philippines – Several towns and cities in Eastern Visayas are still without power and telecommunication services after typhoon Ursula (international name: Phanfone) barreled through the area on December 25.

According to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), Ursula’s violent winds and heavy rains damaged many facilities in the region, including electrical posts and communication facilities.

The OCD said three individuals were confirmed dead due to the onslaught of Ursula, while reports on four other casualties are still under verification.

“Mayroon tayong confirmed dead sa Malitbog, Southern Leyte. Isa ang naging cause ng death nag-drive siya ng motorcycle tapos iniwasan iyong natumba o nahulog na live wire. Noong umiwas siya parang nahulog yata sa pavement,” OCD region 8 assistant regional director Rey Gozon said.

Ursula made landfall seven times as it battered parts of the Visayas with its whipping winds and heavy rains.

Gozon said they are still waiting for updates from affected municipalities to trickle in.

He added that they are planning to conduct an aerial inspection on Friday to assess the extent of the damage left by the typhoon.

“We also requested the availability of helicopter para magkaroon tayo ng aerial survey tomorrow if the weather will permit. Kasi, kapag maulap, katulad ngayon, hindi tayo makakapagpalipad,” he said.

Gozon said they will coordinate with the Philippine Airforce in Iloilo and Cebu stations to augment their aerial inspection.

The OCD-8 chief also assured that clearing operations are ongoing as well as the restoration of affected transmission and telecommunication lines.

He also advised groups assisting in the clearing efforts to exercise caution and to immediately halt operations if the situation puts their lives in danger, especially in landslide-prone areas.

“Ingat lang doon sa naglilinis ng nagkalat na mga debris, baka tayo po ay masugatan and baka tayo po ay madaganan doon sa possible na matumba and malambot pa din po ang lupa. kailangan ingat ingat tayo doon sa possibility for landslide,” Gozon said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Jenelyn Gaquit-Valles)

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