Typhoon Odette (international name Rai), the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines so far in 2021, pummeled the southern and central regions of the country starting Dec. 16. It left hundreds of thousands affected, at least 18 dead and several areas without power and communications in the typhoon’s aftermath.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Odette was a super typhoon when it initially barreled into the tropical paradise of Siargao on Dec. 16. It packed maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers an hour.
The destructive typhoon made several landfalls on Dec. 16, including in Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, areas in Bohol and Cebu, and on Dec. 17 in Negros Oriental and Palawan.
Learning from the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, local government units did preemptive evacuations, especially for those living in low-lying areas prone to storm surges and flash floods.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Dec. 17, a total of 83,026 families or 332,855 individuals were preemptively evacuated due to typhoon Odette.
The onslaught of the typhoon has so far affected at least 11,859 families or 41,434 individuals as Odette pummeled areas of Visayas and Mindanao.
The storm swept across the central and southern Philippines and left trees uprooted, airports destroyed, power lines toppled, villages and rice fields flooded, and houses badly damaged.
As of this writing, communications are still down in areas that took the brunt of the typhoon, including Siargao, parts of Leyte, Bohol and Cebu.
At least 18 people have reportedly died from the typhoon and thousands more homeless and settled in almost 200 evacuation facilities.
As of 11 a.m. of Dec. 18, Odette is forecast to pass the vicinity of Kalayaan Islands, and may exit the Philippine area of responsibility in the morning or afternoon of the same day. The government is still continuing its assessment on the overall damage brought by Typhoon Odette.