By Ben O. Tesiorna
Six persons were confirmed to have died in the province of Davao Oriental on Tuesday as Typhoon Pablo (international code Bopha) made a landfall in Baganga around four in the morning of December 4 (Philippine time).
Six others were reported to have died as well in the town of Mabini, Compostela Valley bringing the number of casualties to twelve as of Tuesday afternoon
Colonel Leonardo Guerrero of the Philippine Army's 701st Infantry Brigade revealed that as of twelve noon Tuesday there is one confirmed casualty in Tarragona, one in Manay, three in Caraga, and one in Baganga. He said the figure came from the Davao Oriental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
Montevista information officer Edwin Antia was meanwhile quoted by the Philippine Information Agency 11 as having confirmed the death of six residents as of 12:30 p.m.
with undetermined number of injuries and about 50 houses damaged by the flooding and strong winds brought by the typhoon.
Antia said the Montevista-Compostela road is also impassable.
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.