By Alexander Lopez
HELP ON THE WAY. An airplane carrying five tons of food and medicines leaves Manila for Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte on Saturday (Dec. 18, 2021). Also on board are doctors to provide medical assistance to thousands of Siargao residents. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Bingo Matugas FB Page)
BUTUAN CITY – The airlifting of food and medical supplies has begun to help the distressed residents of Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, one of the areas devastated by Typhoon Odette.
In his Facebook post on Saturday, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas said an airplane carrying five tons of food, including medical supplies, and a team of doctors has left Manila heading for the island.
“We expect a regular delivery of five tons of food per day through air transport,” Matugas added.
He also confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte would visit the severely-battered island on Saturday.
As of press time, communication lines, power, and water were still out in most parts of Siargao and Surigao City.
“We expect more satellite phones to be delivered to every town of Surigao del Norte in order to set up free ‘Tawag Centers’ for the residents to call their relatives outside of the province,” Matugas said.
On December 17, Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas, in a statement, placed the typhoon’s damage to the island at PHP20 billion.
He was in San Isidro town during the conduct of preemptive evacuation when “Odette” made its first landfall on the island.
Nine of the 20 municipalities in Surigao del Norte are situated in Siargao Island: Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro, Santa Monica, and Socorro.
“We are safe. We were stranded at the municipal building of San Isidro at 1 p.m. on December 16. The typhoon hit at 1:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., the strongest, probably category 4 typhoon battered San Isidro for two hours, which totally damaged buildings and other structures,” Matugas said. (PNA)