September 30, 2009
As rescue, relief, and retrieval operations are still underway in the wake of Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name Ketsana), Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan now warns the public of another imminent danger: the outbreak of diseases in evacuation centers
Reacting to reports received from relief volunteers working on the field, Pangilinan urges the public and private sectors to mobilize resources to prevent the occurrence of another large-scale tragedy.
“Because hundreds of thousands of families have nowhere else to go, evacuation centers are forced to cram hundreds of families in very small spaces. According to reports that we have received from the field, in Nangka Elementary School in Marikina, for instance, over five hundred families are housed in just 38 classrooms. Toilets don’t work; there is hardly any clean, potable water; and people are at risk of infection because of contact with mud, nails, broken glass, and other infectious substances. We are certain that this is the situation in many of our evacuation centers.”
“There is a very high probability of an outbreak of infectious diseases such as intestinal flu, dengue, AH1N1, and others,” Pangilinan added.
“We urge the public and private sectors to quickly mobilize resources to prevent such an outbreak. We need more evacuation centers to spread out the growing number of evacuees, and we need to provide people with clean water and sanitary facilities, as well as medicines, clothes, and slippers. We also need volunteer doctors and nurses to help provide medical assistance to the evacuees.”
“We ask the Department of Health to be on top of the situation to prevent more unnecessary deaths,” Pangilinan emphasized.