Catastrophe | Inquirer News


/ 07:02 AM November 10, 2013

A grim picture of hunger and extreme storm damage emerged yesterday in north Cebu where seven towns were still virtually isolated with no electric power or clear phone signals. Access was hampered by roads strewn with debris.

“It looks like a scene from World War II here. We are practically back to zero,” said Mayor Ricardo Ramirez of Medellin town.

He said over 90 percent of houses in the sugar-producing town were destroyed or badly damaged. All schools and government buildings were ripped apart by supertyphoon ‘Yolanda”’.


“Some sitios were wiped off the face of the earth,” he said, as he appealed for food, medicine and ambulances through his Facebook account.


The immediate need of northern towns is food and water, because the municipalities lack resources to feed the thousands of survivors at one time.

‘Yolanda’ made landfall in Daanbantayan town, the northernmost tip of Cebu, past 9 a.m. Friday, blasting 250-kilometer winds and heavy rain in coastal towns.

In  Madridejos town in Bantayan island, 98 percent of infrastructure was destroyed, including all school buildings and the municipal and cultural center, said Emie Mates Gabito, consultant and former councilor of Madridejos.

Her updates were posted in Facebook, based on a phone call from Mayor Sally dela Fuente who had to travel to mainland Cebu in Tabuelan town to get a clear signal.

She reported three deaths in Madridejos.

“No power. Island in total darkness,” said Richard Go Batiquin, an employee of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) in Sta. Fe town on Bantayan island.


“People are hungry and some are ransacking retail stores to find food to eat.”

He posted photos of the devastation on his Facebook account using a cellphone  with an Internet data plan, but said he had to conserve his battery.

Bantayan town mayor Chris Escario managed to make a cellphone call from the wharf  and appealed for drinking water and generator sets to get pumps running.

He said 90 percent of houses still standing have no more roofs.   He reported seven deaths so far.

An aerial  photo of the Saints Peter and Paul church in Bantayan showed the Spanish-era church had lost its entire roof.

The century—old church is most visited during Holy Week where Bantayan mounts a traditional procession of life-size religious images.

Roro vessels that travel to Sta. Fe were barred from leaving San Remigio because debris from damaged shipping vessels and fish nets made sea travel dangerous.

North Cebu was the focus of site inspections yesterday by Gov. Hilario Davide III, police and disaster response officials who traveled by land bringing relief supplies.

He also went to Bantayan island, where Smart Communicaitons accompanied him to set up a “libre tawag” center in the poblacion.

Worse hit areas are Bogo city and towns of Medellin, San Remigio, Daanbantayan on the mainland, and the three towns of Bantayan island – Sta. Fe. , Bantayan and Madridejos.

Lack of contact from these places has increased anxiety levels of families and friends, and prevented a clear assessment of the typhoon’s full impact.

In San Remigio town, Carolina Misa, 70, said she had never experienced a storm as strong as Yolanda.

“Naghadyong ang hangin.  Nagpaka-paka ang gawas.” ( The wind was howling and  pounding outside.)

The roof and walls of her two-story house were gone so she joined evacuees in the municipal hall.

Along the national road in Tabogon town, children held up posters appealing for help: “We need food and water”.  “Help! Way bugas.  We need food.”  “Walay Bugas og Tubig.”

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said a big part of these localities still had no electricity, water supply, and road access due to fallen trees and debris on the road.

She said the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) would start immediately clearing national highways that connect Bogo City to Daanbantayan town so that relief goods can reach the far north.

When she tried to  visit the towns Friday afternoon, when the typhoon had died down, she could only reach Carmen town because roads were impassable due to fallen trees.

She said Mayor Jeff Fernandez of Pilar, Camotes island reported one person dead, who was hit by a fallen tree.

In San Remigio town, councilor Junnie Verallo said 90 percent of houses had no more roofs.

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A photo posted on Facebook showed residents of barangay Ilihan lining the road waiting for help. A white cloth banner hung from a tree with the appeal “ Hatagi Intawn mi ug tabang” (Please send us help).  /Doris Bongcac, Jeanette Malinao, Ador Vincent Mayol and Jhunnex Napallacan

TAGS: disaster

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