Supertyphoon Rolly exacted a huge cost on public infrastructure, particularly buildings, with virtually all standing structures not escaping unscathed.
At the provincial capitol compound, buildings which lost roofs include the Hall of Justice and the newly-built Catanduanes Convention Center while the ferocious wind and rain burst through windows and doors of the main capitol building’s southwest end, the Commission on Audit, and the capitol dome.
At the National Food Authority, the roof of its warehouse collapsed on 4,000 bags of rice and several vehicles that were parked inside while the manager’s office and residence as well as the accounting building were unroofed.
With its capital outlay budget severely slashed, the Catanduanes State University will have to source addition funds for the repair of damage to its HRD building, Engineering building and other structures including the covered walkway.
The municipal government of Virac sustained heavy damage to its main building, including the office of the mayor and adjoining offices, after its glass windows broke under the pressure of the gusts.
At the Virac public market, the wind gusts tore into smithereens the temporary stalls erected by stall holders around the market building currently under renovation, with the roll-up doors of the new stalls crumpled and torn.
Also losing its roofs were the Liga ng mga Barangay Hall, the multi-purpose hall and the MDRRMO building where about 15 rescue personnel and several law enforcers were taking shelter.
MDRRMO operations chief Mark Matira said that when the wind shifted from the north to the east, the roof gave way and was carried off by the gusts, with their weather equipment recording its last reading at 280 kph.
At the boulevard, the Coast Guard station was heavily damaged while at the PNP HPG headquarters, a Masbate enforcer and a truck driver who decided to brave the supertyphoon there soon regretted their decision.
The predicted two-to-three meter storm surge flooded the small building with water up to the neck, forcing the enforcer to stand on the lavatory and the driver to cling to the aircon frame for survival.
Even churches were not spared, with the Iglesia ni Cristo losing half of its roofing while the GI sheets and rafters at the main roof of the Calatagan church flew off and hit roofs of nearby houses, inflicting more damage.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, however, escaped serious damage, with only the roofing of a small third-floor room gone along with one of the main side doors and several window panes.
At the Gogon church that occupies a prominent corner of the rotunda, the entire portico flew off, along with it two large chunks of the reinforced concrete beam and arch.
Beside it lay strewn numerous debris carried away by the chest deep flood that came from the river that overflowed its banks and turned nearly residential areas into a virtual sea of brown water that reached as high as six feet.
Multi-purpose buildings were also destroyed, with the Plaza Rizal covered court losing most of its signature rounded roofing.
At JMA Memorial Elementary School, the entire roofing fell down on five vehicles that were parked there by their owners to escape Rolly’s wrath.
It was hard to believe at first but one has to see the debris to be convinced of the stupendous power of the supertyphoon.
At the DepEd Catanduanes compound, the entire reinforced concrete roofing of the first grandstand from the main gate was blown away by wind gusts.
The heavy roof slab, weighing several tons, was torn off from its anchoring at the existing beams, launched into the air and then landed on two (2) one-story reinforced concrete buildings with slab roofing along the nearby river about a hundred meters away.
The impact crumpled the buildings on their side, with the debris slamming down across the river and effectively blocking the flow of the flood waters. This caused the water level to rise up and overflow beyond the banks, flooding into nearby residential houses and the DepEd compound and on towards the intersection near the Virac Town Center entrance.
Along the street in San Roque near the ARDCI Corporate Inn, the water was about waist deep while near the foot of the Gogon bridge near the Virac Hometel, it was as high as a man’s eyes, a resident recounted.
Flooding also occurred at Cavinitan, on the highway in front of the university and along Moonwalk road while in Capilihan, the water was chest deep, carrying coconuts and other debris across the highway near the Cua compound.
The 280-kph gusts also tore open the roofs of several warehouses, causing water damage to tens of thousands of cement bags.
It also collapsed the entire roofs of private garages down into the parked trucks and equipment.
Several contractors and hardware store owners estimate their losses in the tens of millions.
For now, the true extent of the damage wrought by yet another supertyphoon in Catanduanes’ history would be known in the coming days as isolated barangays and towns are finally reached by disaster personnel.