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Santander folk caught by surprise

TYPHOON Pablo caught some families by surprise in Santander town,the southernmost tip of Cebu.

They knew a big storm was coming, said 40-year-old Enesa Litargo, but they weren’t told to evacuate their homes in the coast of barangay Talisay.

Litargo with her husband Danilo and children ended up in the house of a neighbor , when the winds and sea waves started to whip up about 4 p.m. last Tuesday.

More than 500 houses were damaged in Santander, 134 kilometers south of Cebu City, when Pablo slammed southern Cebu which was placed under typhoon signal no. 3.

In the next town of Oslob, Mayor Ronald Guarin said he hopes electric power will be restored in their town today in time for their annual fiesta.

At least 128 families were evacuated, he said earlier.

Officials in the towns of Boljoon, Oslob and Santander said they will declare a state of calamity in their next council meetings.

In Santander town, Evelyn Cinena said she didn’t expect to be hosting 12 families in her small house, which became an instant evacuation center.

The Litargo couple and their children were among her sudden guests.

Litargo and some families interviewed by CDN said they weren’t informed about an evacuation by local officials.

Their 32-year-old neighbor Geraldine Rondina said she grabbed her three children and ran to the house after seeing coconut trees fall on the ground with their branches strewn about.

Rondina said she never thought that typhoon Pablo would be that strong.

“Wala man mi pahibaw a dinhi sa barangay officials (We weren’t told by our barangay officials),” Rondina said.

But she saw residents of other barangays riding government vehicles going to the evacuation center.

The Cinena couple cooked dried fish and rice for a dozen families who stayed overnight as typhoon Pablo blew.

Catalino, the husband, said he cooked rice in their biggest pot and was surprised that all of it was consumed within minutes.

The following day, the Litargo couple went home and found their two large mango trees toppled on their cottage.

CDN found Danilo cutting the tree branches in segments to make it easier to haul away.]

Santander Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao denied that townfolk weren’t informed about the evacuation.

Some residents living along the coastal road where the 12 families lived said they heard about the evacuation advice in Sunday Mass.

The mayor said she met with barangay and town officials after hearing about typhoon Pablo and told them to inform their constituents especially those in coastal areas to evacuate to their nearest public school.

Wenceslao said she visited the storm-hit residents to offer help.

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