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Howler sends surfing capital to knees

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Siargao Island was in “total devastation” after typhoon “Odette” ravaged the internationally popular surfing destination with estimated damage of at least P20 billion, Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas II said Saturday morning.

Relaying information from his father — Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas — the congressman said the typhoon has left at least two people dead and 99 percent of the 180,000 population of the island, including the tourists, have been affected.

All residents and tourists living on the beach have been evacuated one week before “Odette” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

The younger Matugas said his father had been “trapped” in the evacuation centers in Siargao Island when the typhoon made landfall on the area. They started to experience strong winds and heavy rain at 1:30 p.m. on 16 December.

“When he (Governor Matugas) inspected the island yesterday (17 December), he saw buildings that are either without a roof or split in half. It was difficult to enter 80 percent of the municipal buildings,” Matugas said.

The onslaught of the typhoon did not spare even his own house, the solon noted. Strong winds caused a number of trees and electric posts in the area to topple down, blocking the roads.

Five tons of relief goods from the Philippine Red Cross and Senators Richard Gordon and Kiko Pangilinan have been distributed in the evacuation centers, according to Matugas.

He added that two planes carrying a team of doctors and medical workers have departed from Legaspi City to provide medical assistance to typhoon-hit communities.

The weather has improved on the island and the floods subsided as of 18 December.

Telecommunication services remain disrupted in the province.

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