Legarda Urges LGUs, Public to Prepare for Typhoon Odette

December 16, 2021

Three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda urged local government units (LGUs) and the general public to prepare for Typhoon “Odette,” which is forecast to make landfall in the vicinity of Dinagat Islands, Siargao-Bucas Grande Islands or the northern portion of Surigao del Sur this noon or early afternoon and move to cross several provinces in Central and Western Visayas.

Legarda stressed that citizens, especially those in Visayas, Mindanao, and part of Southern Luzon, should regularly monitor weather updates and cooperate with disaster management and response agencies that conduct evacuation, rescue, relief, and recovery operations in the affected areas.

“Nakakalungkot na madalas nang natataon ang mga bagyon ito sa pagdiriwang natin ng Pasko. Kailangan natin maging alerto at makipagtulungan sa otoridad upang mas maging ligtas ang sarili at pamilya sa kabila ng magiging hagupit at epekto nitong bagyo sa ating pamayanan. Nanawagan ako sa ating mga lokal na pamahalaan at sa bawat Pilipino na maghanda sa paparating na bagyo at umantabay sa mahahalagang anunsiyo mula sa otoridad,” said Legarda, who is a UN Global Champion for Resilience and advocate for disaster and climate resilience for over two decades.

“By now, the national government and our LGUs down to the barangay level should ensure that their disaster management and response mechanisms are already in place. Quick communication and real-time updates are vital in ensuring effective disaster coordination. They should be ready to activate all forms of early warning systems, ensure drainage systems had been cleaned up and cleared, temporary shelters are ready, families living in landslide and flood-prone areas are now prepared for possible evacuation to preempt any casualties, and adequate relief is provided in temporary shelters,” Legarda said.

According to the latest advisory of PAGASA issued on December 16 at 8:00 AM, Odette is expected to bring heavy rainfall resulting in scattered to widespread flooding (including flash floods) and rain-induced landslides; severe winds that may result in light to moderate damages to structures and vegetation; and coastal inundation with risk of storm surge reaching up to 3.0 m in height and may cause flooding in the low-lying coastal localities of Visayas, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Agusan del Norte, and northern portion of Palawan.

Legarda also reminded the public to take the following measures in order to know what to do during storms and typhoons, based on the Disaster Preparedness and First Aid Handbook launched by the Senate Committee on Climate Change in 2011, which she chaired during her stint in the Senate:

– Stay indoors and keep calm. Have a flashlight and radio handy, with fresh batteries. Stock up on food, potable water, batteries, and first-aid supplies. Monitor TV and radio reports. Keep roads clear for emergency vehicles. Secure your homes.

– In case of flooding, turn off the main sources of electricity, gas, and water inside your home. Stack furniture above the expected flood level. Keep appliances, valuables, chemicals, toxic substances, and garbage beyond the reach of floodwaters. Do not operate any electrical equipment during a flood. Do not use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded.

– Go to the nearest designated evacuation center. Avoid low-lying areas, riverbanks, creeks and coastal areas, slopes, cliffs, and foothills. Rain can trigger landslides, rockslides or mudslides. Avoid wading through flooded areas. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.

“Disaster prevention starts long before a typhoon makes a landfall. National and local action must promote disaster prevention with “zero casualty” as the gold standard. As a country often visited by typhoons, we should have already learned by now that the cost of disasters in lives lost and livelihoods and properties damaged is unacceptable. We need to remain steadfast and effective in adapting to these disasters in order to avoid further loss and damage and ensure a more resilient Philippines,” Legarda concluded.***