MAASIN CITY – Mayor Nacional Mercado of this city aired impassioned appeal to all those who care to listen and act, three days after Super Typhoon Odette literally reduced everything to rubble here and other parts of the province.

“We are appealing, we are requesting, we are asking for assistance or help from the different national line agencies and NGOs, the LGUs, to please help us with, first, food, potable water, hygiene kits, sleeping mats, tents, folding beds, construction materials,” Mayor Mercado said in a chance interview with PIA at the city hall lobby.

At the time of the interview, Mercado reported that there are still 19 out of 70 barangays that need to be cleared so the roads can be passable.

“Kailangan augmentation ng manpower and vehicles to clear the roads, equipment, and vehicles like ambulance dahil na-damage yung ambulance natin, tapos yung mga trucks for relief operations,” he added.

The local chief executive was thankful to a number of LGUs who readily responded even before his call for help and assistance.

“We are very much thankful to the province of Northern Samar, to Gov. Ongchuan, for sending help. We are truly grateful kay Mayor Richard Gomez of Ormoc, Kay Mayor Agda of Borongan City, and Mayor Dexter Uy of Catbalogan City for sending some assistance, help, manpower nila to help us with the clearing operations, sending of relief goods, NFA rice. Maraming salamat,” the Mayor said.

“Sa ngayon, nakapag-deploy na ng relief operations sa mga barangay. And we are also grateful sa DSWD, kay Sec. Rolly Bautista s amabilis na pagpadala ng mga food, family food packs,” he added.

The city has no signal from big telecommunication companies Globe and Smart, where electricity will take some time as many electric posts were damaged, the Mayor said.

He estimated the initial damaged at P300 million to P500 million, adding that by this week he will declare a state of calamity for the city if there is no such declaration yet from the national or provincial government.

Mercado confirmed the city suffered one casualty, a 70-year-old male who was hit by a loose debris in Brgy. Baugo, a mountain barangay.

He encouraged banks to open on Monday, December 20, as a way to avert the possibility of looting, while drugstores, grocery stores, and hardware stores in the city had already opened.

“This is the first time that we have experienced this strong typhoon that really devastated the city of Maasin,” Mercado said. (LDL/MMP/PIA 8 - Southern Leyte)