Source: AFP via Getty Images
The popular Philippine surfing destination Siargao was preparing to welcome back tourists as COVID restrictions in the island nation eased up – that was until Typhoon Odette tore through the area with wind speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.
Super Typhoon Odette left a trail of devastation in the southern and central area of the Philippines, leaving the island of Siargao – a destination renowned for its idyllic beaches and big waves, including the famous right barrel Cloud Nine – virtually unrecognizable.
WATCH: Look at the power of this storm surge as a massive wave hit a reef in Burgos, northern Siargao Island on 16 Dec. Video courtesy of Pepe Diokno #TyphoonOdette #Siargao pic.twitter.com/xY1cSBNfnL— Howard Johnson (@Howardrjohnson) December 20, 2021
“The day after the storm, we went outside and we were like ‘wow, this is Siargao now, it’s no more,” Claudine Mendoza, 27, a sous chef at a beachfront resort, told AFP.
“About 80 percent of buildings have been destroyed. There’s so much more damage in the north parts of the island, especially along the coast. 80 percent of the wooden trimarans we use here for transport are gone,” local photographer, Gaps Sabuero, told Surfline. “Concrete houses still stand but roofs are out. Shacks are totally blown out. But tarps and roofs are low on supply. People are picking up pieces and building temporary shelters.”
According to the Associated Press, more than half a million people have been displaced by the typhoon and those left on the island are in dire need of clean drinking water.
“It feels even worse because we were just recovering and getting tourism back off the ground after COVID,” local resident Abonal Bayer told The Inertia. “And now Siargao is back to zero. We’re hearing it’s probably going to be six months before electricity is back, who knows about water. And at least a year before Siargao is back to anything close to normal.”