Public Health
publicado em 21/12/2011 às 13h24:00
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Philippines tries to avoid epidemics after the storm that devastated southern

In the affected cities and camps of the south, are piled up homeless by the floods that caused more than a thousand deaths

EFE  
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Foto: EFE/Dennis M. Sabangan
Filipino children collect materials in the rubble to help families rebuild shacks in Iligan City in southern Mindanao
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Filipino children collect materials in the rubble to help families rebuild shacks in Iligan City in southern Mindanao

Philippine health authorities try to prevent the emergence of epidemics in the affected cities and camps in the south which pile up homeless by the floods that caused more than a thousand deaths. "There is a risk of dysentery, intestinal diseases, tetanus, and long-term cholera. We are also aware of the possible appearance of leptospirosis due to poor hygienic conditions and lack of potable water," Efe said the head of the Philippine National Red Cross, Juan Miguel Zubiri.

According to the latest report from the National Center for Disaster Prevention, the entire death toll has reached 1,002 and that of the 56 missing after tropical storm "Washington" for the northern island of Mindanao during the night of Friday (16) and the following morning.

The Department of Health sent medical equipment to the region before the risk that citizens are harmed by the contamination of water wells by the decomposition of bodies of people and animals. In the city of Cagayan de Oro, where they were counted more than 650 deaths, the water supply is cut by 70% of homes, forcing many inhabitants to seek it in muddy rivers and streams. "We urgently need purification equipment, since the distribution of barrels of water in most affected areas is insufficient and there have been cases of dysentery, especially in children," Zubiri pointed.

Hundreds of volunteers and public servants deliver drugs to prevent the spread of infections in 60 centers of support in this area and assembled throng in which more than 44 000 people. But the reserves start to run out of medicine and the Red Cross ran vaccines against tetanus, which it considers essential to prevent the infection from spreading by thousands of survivors who have suffered injuries caused by fragments of aluminum roofs swept away by flood.

Central School in Cagayan de Oro, five days there live about 1500 families who lost everything they had. "Now begins my second life, I have to start from scratch. My main concern is to get money to pay for the burial of my wife and find the bodies of my two children aged two years and two months," said Raul Valdes, a technician television sets 42 years.

Valdes spent almost the whole day sitting in a chair placed in the school sports ground, since you can barely stand due to a congenital malformation in the leg. "I can walk, but as a penguin," he jokes. When was surprised by the flood, on Friday night, he, who regrets not having learned to swim, clung to a tree stump and was dragged to the open sea, where he spent almost a day adrift until he was rescued off the island of Camiguin, more than 50 miles from home.

Like thousands of survivors, Valdes has nowhere to go, because the central government banned the settlements near the riverbanks, where, despite the order, about 16 000 families decided to build houses.

"We can not find accommodation for them from night to day, as the government asks. We need time to find land and money. I proposed to remain in place for a while on the condition they leave the site every time there is a risk flood, "said the mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Vicente emanates.

In the neighborhood of Consolacion, turned into a swamp filled with rubble everywhere, dozens of villagers collect wood planks to rebuild the shacks, regardless of the state ban. "But although the authorities will offer us an alternative," says Leo Navarro, vigilant up to 52 years, with four sticks, a shack in the same spot where his house and beside which there is a body among wreckage.

In Iligan City, the second most affected, the authorities allowed the burials in mass graves, but the Cagayan de Oro chose to transfer the hundreds of unidentified dead at a warehouse near the airport.

"We wanted to bury them before and we have prepared a mass grave, but were warned that if not first identify the bodies could have legal problems," explains the mayor. Tropical Storm "Washington" has affected 348,749 people and caused damage worth U.S. $ 22.6 million, mainly on roads, bridges, hospitals and schools.

The Philippine president, Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity and announced Tuesday the creation of a special fund of $ 26.6 million. Experts from international agencies identify the slums and deforestation as the main factor of the large number of deaths that cause natural disasters in the country and highlighted the poor state of infrastructure.

Source: EFE
   Palavras-chave:   Philippines    Tropical storm    Flood    Epidemics    Diseases    Camps    South of the country    Homeless    Dead bodies    Dysentery    Intestinal diseases    Tetanus    Cholera    Leptospirosis    Sanitation   
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