A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippines said to described typhoon Rai (local name: Odette) as a “super typhoon” is an “understatement.”
“Never in my entire life have I encountered such a typhoon,” said Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao as he appealed for prayers and aid for his diocese on Monday, December 20.
“Blinding torrential rains and howling winds no man could take standing up hammered us for more than three hours,” said the bishop.
He said the province of Surigao del Norte suffered “sizeable damage” from the typhoon, which made its first landfall on the province’s Siargao island.
“Please continue to pray for the Diocese of Surigao,” said Bishop Cabajog in a message sent to the bishops’ conference from the city of Butuan.
Odette was a “super typhoon” when it slammed into Siargao, a popular tourist and surfing destination.
Siargao island and Dinagat province are among the “worst hit with unofficial reports of many casualties,” said the bishop.
Power and communication lines are still down in the two areas, hampering efforts to get the extent of damage difficult, as of posting time.
The prelate said mainland parishes seem to have suffered lesser damage than those in the city.
The storm also devastated several heavily populated areas, including Bohol, Cebu and Southern Leyte provinces.
Appealing help for the typhoon victims, the bishop said food and water are the priority needs in badly hit areas.
“In spite of all these, the strong faith of the people stands out as their pillar of comfort and support,” he said. – from a CBCP News report