CAGAYAN, Philippines– The whole Batanes province was placed under state of calamity due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ferdie.
Norma Talosig, chief of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Cagayan Valley region, confirmed to Rappler that the provincial board has declared the state of calamity in Batanes on Thursday, September 15.
The declaration followed after the recommendation of the provincial disaster management agency, according to Talosig.
Governor Marilou Cayco on Friday, September 16, said the declaration of state of calamity will be used to “immediately respond to the restoration needs of some facilities which were greatly affected by strong the typhoon and to enable quick response and service delivery to the affected families.”
Cayco said they will prioritize families whose houses were totally damaged by strong winds.
On Thursday, Batanes lone district Representative Henedina Abad said the province was “heavily” damaged by Ferdie.
Abad said province has still no power supply and the communication lines in Basco, Itbayat and Mahatao towns were cut. A Rappler source said the communication lines in the said towns are still cut off.
“Our communities at the moment do not have access to water or electricity, and communication across the province is difficult to establish,” Abad said, adding that there is also great damage in agriculture and infrastructure.
She said that she’s “thankful” that there were no casualties reported.
Meanwhile, Talosig has reported that 50 houses were totally damaged and 100 were partially damaged.
The buildings of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) building, Technical Education Development Authority (TESDA) office and the Basco Central School, Batanes National High School, Provincial Capitol building and Sto. Domingo Church also suffered damages.
‘No help yet’
In a Facebook post, Rachel Ponce, a resident of Itbayat but is currently staying in Manila as aide of Cong. Abad, plead for help because they are yet to contact some towns.
Ponce slammed the media for lack of coverage on the aftermath of Ferdie in Batanes, saying that the damages left some town islands isolated.
“Nakakalungkot na [sobra ang] media coverage [sa] Senate samantalang ang mga kahilyan (kababayan) sa Itbayat eh nag iiyak na sa pag aalala sa Itbayat Island,” Ponce said.
(It is saddening that the Senate is receiving a huge media coverage while we are heavily worried of what had happened to our families in Itbayat Island.)
“Ilang araw na kaming walang naririnig na communication sa kanila. We are so worried. We just want to know if there are casualties, kung buhay pa ba sila? Sa Itbayat kasi ang EYE ng typhoon. The last text we received eh nilipad na ung mga bubong, nag eevacuate na sa mga may concrete houses ang mga iba. Binaha na daw po sa plaza (1st time po na ngyari yun),” Ponce added.
(It’s been days that we are not hearing something from them. We are so worried. We just want to know if there are casualties, or if they are still alive. The eye of the typhoon passed through Itbayat. The last text we received is their roofs were already being blown away and that they are already evacuating to those with concrete houses. Our plaza was flooded and that never happened before.)
Ponce said they “badly” need attention because the strength of the typhoon was never felt in Batanes before.
She said that since the C130 could not land in Itbayat, they are requesting a helicopter for the town.
“We do not have a voice. Kahit aerial view lang po, kahit ibagsak niyo na lang po yung SATTELITE PHONE and relief goods,” (Reach Itbayat even if it’s only an aerial view, or you just drop a satellite phone and relief goods.) she said.
The regional disaster management agency said they are set to fly to Basco on Saturday, September 17, through C-130 plane to assess the damage of the typhoon and to deliver relief goods.
The team supposedly fled to Batanes on Thursday but they were not given clearance due to the bad weather. Previously published in Rappler.com by Raymon Dullana/TNF