Surigao bishop on Odette’s fury: ‘Supertyphoon is understatement’

December 21, 2021 - 5:48 PM
A general view of the damages caused by typhoon Rai, in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, Philippines, December 20, 2021. Picture taken December 20, 2021. (Erwin Mascarinas/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters)

Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao on Monday appealed for prayers as the diocese reels from the aftermath of a powerful typhoon that wreaked havoc across the nation.

He said Surigao del Norte suffered “sizeable damage” from the typhoon, which made its first landfall on the province’s Siargao island.

“Please continue to pray for the Diocese of Surigao,” Cabajog said in a message sent to the bishops’ conference from the city of Butuan on Monday.

“Never in my entire life have I encountered such a typhoon. To say ‘super’ is an understatement,” he said.

The typhoon, according to him, manifested its “super strength” around 1:00 p.m. and unleashed more strength and peaked around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.

“Blinding torrential rains and howling winds no man could take standing up hammered us for more than three hours,” he said.

Odette was a “supertyphoon” when it slammed into Siargao, a popular tourist and surfing destination.

Siargao and Dinagat province, the prelate said, “are worst hit with unofficial reports of many casualties”.

Power and communication lines are still down in the two areas, hampering efforts to get the extent of damage difficult.

The prelate said mainland parishes seem to have suffered lesser damage than those in the city.

The storm also devastated several heavily populated areas, including Bohol, Cebu and Southern Leyte provinces.

The death toll caused by the typhoon has risen to more than 300, according to the Philippine National Police.

READ: Philippines grapples with ‘Odette’ aftermath as death toll tops 300

Appealing help for the typhoon victims, the bishop said that food and water are priority needs in badly hit areas.

RELATED: Food running out, ‘Odette’ survivors warn

“In spite of all these, the strong faith of the people stands out as their pillar of comfort and support,” he said.

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