by JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
Photos of dead people and damages on houses and infrastructures reportedly caused by Typhoon Odette have been circulating online and posted on Facebook and other social media sites, which were shared hundreds of times.
The photos showed piles of dead bodies, damaged houses and infrastructures, uprooted trees, vehicles turned upside down, massive flooding and muddy streets reportedly due to Typhoon Odette, which ravaged several regions in the country on Dec. 16.
On the same day that Typhoon Odette made landfall and hit several areas in Mindanao, seven photos were posted on Facebook and were shared more than 300 times.
However, the photos have been shared under a false context. The photos are not the real scenario of the damages wrought by Typhoon Odette. Rather, the photos were taken in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong, which ravaged mostly the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Northern Mindanao on Dec. 16, 2011.
Tropical Storm Sendong (international name Washi) was as deadly as Typhoon Odette, leaving thousands of people dead and missing, and millions worth of infrastructure damages. What’s coincidental is that both typhoons hit Mindanao on the same day, Dec. 16.
The caption to the seven photos read in part: “Dead bodies found in Iligan/12/16/2021,” which included a hashtag #TyphoonOdettePH. The photos have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook carrying the same caption.
The original photos were published and uploaded on Facebook by Rene Pernia, an employee of the Iligan City government, on December 17, 2011, a day after Tropical Storm Sendong ravaged the city. The photos carried the caption: “Sendong visits Iligan City 12-17-2011/for the first time Iligan City on Signal Number 2.”
Pernia confirmed he was the one who took the photos back in 2011 when Tropical Storm Sendong hit Iligan City.
“The Sendong photos are mine,” Pernia said.
Typhoon Odette also hit Iligan City but there’s no casualty, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
As of December 20, at least 208 persons were reported dead due to Typhoon Odette, 239 injured and at least 52 were missing.
The NDRRMC said the typhoon affected more than 700,000 people in the administrative region of MIMAROPA (Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan and Romblon) and in regions 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, Caraga administrative region (Agusan Del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The typhoon also left 227 cities and municipalities with no electricity and 135 areas in the affected regions with communication outages.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered for the immediate distribution of food and relief packs to the affected families and the restoration of power and communication lines.