The 1,032-hectare Boracay Island welcomes 2020 without fireworks display and without electricity. Tropical Cyclone Phanfone, named Typhoon Ursula locally, battered the Philippines on December 25, 2019 -From 0800H to 1100H local time, as local media reported at least 50 people had died as the latest report on 31 Dec. 2019. And All in all, more than 2.1 million people from over 522,000 families were affected by Ursula. Of that number, nearly 85,000 people from more than 21,000 families are spending New Year’s Eve in evacuation centers.
It is also estimated that typhoon Ursula has caused damages to agriculture and infrastructure worth Php1.084 billion.
The Island is facing the biggest problem right now and there’s is no clear timeline as to when the electricity can be restored. Most establishments have been operating on a generator from Dec. 25 up to now. Most establishments need to shut down the operations for at least two hours every day so that the generator can have a break before resuming. Technically, all generators are not designed to continuously run 24/7 so most establishment owners begun expecting that Genset units will break soon- Except for high-end resort that has a backup gensets.
As of yesterday, around 230 linemen from various electric power cooperatives from Luzon, Western Visayas, and Mindanao have been deployed to help restore power in Aklan. According to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, around 14 transmission towers had been damaged by the typhoon.
Boracay Island desperately needs power because it’s one of the busiest periods of the year. Plus, most of the public transportation is now serviced by electric tricycles. No electricity means no transportation.
Also, Both Boracay Airport in Caticlan & Kalibo International Airport is both fully operational per latest Jan. 01, 2020 local information. Kalibo International Airport resumes flight last Dec. 26, 2019.
Communications lines are now up. Banks are still closed because of the long holidays. Bank ATMs continue to be offline. Although there are 2 ATMs are now operating but there’s a mass of locals and foreign tourists lining up.
Ursula left the Filipinos an unforgettable Christmas celebration. Ursula was not as strong as Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013, but the impact was similar to Typhoon Seniang in 2006 which left significant damage on Boracay Island.