Health officials working to prevent disease outbreak at evac centers 

The Office of Rep. Emilio  Yulo  III (Neg. Occ., 5th District)  has put up food stations in all evacuation centers in La Castellana.* 

Health officials are working  to prevent an outbreak of gastroenteritis and respiratory ailments at evacuation centers and barangays in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, affected by the Kanlaon Volcano eruption.

Department of Health-Western Visayas and Provincial Health Office personnel were in La Castellana on Tuesday, June 11, testing water sources that may have been contaminated by ash fall, Dr. Girlie Pinongan, Negros Occidental provincial health officer, said. 

Pinongan said they are also conducting an education campaign to remind the evacuees and residents to ensure that the water they drink is safe. 

They are also ensuring that the water is safe for washing cooking and eating utensils, and for baths, she said. 

There are 4,753 evacuees in nine evacuation centers in La Castellana town. 

They were evacuated for living in the Kanlaon 4-kilometer permanent danger zone and in areas that could be hit by lahar flow during heavy rain.  

Pinongan said the evacuees who were exposed to lahar   ash and the smell of sulfur from Kanlaon Volcano’s eruption on January 3 suffered from respiratory ailments, irritated throats   and allergies, while there were elderly folk with elevated blood pressure. 

The evacuation centers are congested so we are keeping a close watch to prevent the spread of cough and other respiratory ailments, she said. 

Pinongan said some evacuees have also complained of stomach aches after drinking too much donated juices. 

La Castellana Mayor Rhummyla Mangilimutan said they are pacing the release of donated food to prevent stomach aches and diarrhea due to overeating. 

The municipal government has taken on the responsibility of cooking the food of those in evacuation centers, she said.  

 Pinongan said doctors and staff from the PHO and other LGUs in Negros Occidental are assisting the La Castellana health personnel in attending to the health needs of the evacuees, and in conducting consultations.

A Philippine Coast Guard medical team has also been tasked with night duty work, she said. 

The PHO and DOH teams are also set to test the water sources in La Carlota City that may have also been affected by the Kanlaon eruption, Pinongan said.

John de Asis, La Castellana, Negros Occidental Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, said the congestion at the evacuation centers requires  proper hygiene to prevent an outbreak of diarrhea and other ailments. 

Social workers are assisting in reminding the  evacuees to observe proper hygiene, he said.* 

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