By Ben O. Tesiorna
As reports have started coming in from the affected areas, the number of casualties in the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo (international code Bopha) has risen to at least 50 people.
Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy confirmed Tuesday evening that about 33 people died in New Bataan, Compostela Valley during the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo.
Six others were reported to have died as well in the town of Montevista, Compostela Valley by municipal information officer Edwin Antia but this has not been confirmed yet by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
In Davao Oriental where the typhoon made a landfall early morning Tuesday, 17 were confirmed dead.
As of five in the afternoon of Tuesday, December 4, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported that one died in Manay town, one in Tarragona, three in Caraga, one in Baganga, and eleven in Cateel -- all in Davao Oriental.
Three persons were also reported injured in the said province as four more were reported missing. The missing were identified as Aliser Antigo, Tata Lamusao, Dodoy Depos and Nelson Pabadura, all residents of Banaybanay, Davao Oriental.
Mati City meanwhile has evacuated a total of 1,600 people from the different affected villages within the city. City Administrator Richard Villacorte said they have no reported injuries or casualties in Mati due to Typhoon Pablo.
"We took lessons to the past two tsunami scares that hit Mati in the recent past. Most of our emergency responders ay mas mahusay na magrespond sa mga sakunang ganito," said Villacorte.
The official however admitted that most residents of Mati were surprised with the Typhoon Pablo since it was their first time to experience such a strong typhoon.
"People are generally surprised, not because they are unprepared but because they have never seen such a phenomenon in Mati in their entire lives. It's unprecedented to have winds like that, to have a real typhoon in Mati," said Villacorte.
Marcel Son, a member of the Dosmart Responders Group, said "we had never experienced a real typhoon in Mati ever since", until Pablo came.
Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat meanwhile ordered the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to convene to assess the actual damages to infrastructure, properties and agriculture.
She also requested to the City Council to declare Mati under a state of calamity while village officials were ordered to assist affected families in returning to their homes.
Marikit Quiñones, head of the Housing and Resettlement Division of Mati City, said that majority of the evacuees are those living in marine zones and are informal settlers or squatters.
Alex Boyles, a member of the City Engineering team, meanwhile reported that 90% of the roads are still passable while the remaining 10% are already being cleared of debris like fallen trees.