CEBU -- Public and private donors are sending clean water and water treatment facilities to southern Cebu towns recovering from Tropical Storm Seniang.
The Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas has not received any reports of water-borne diseases so far, but has asked municipal health officers to monitor their water sources and make sure these have not been contaminated.
Seniang caused 45 incidents, including landslides, floods and a tornado, in nine regions, the national disaster council said in its report as of Monday morning.
However, the national report listed only seven barangays in Bohol as the ones “experiencing water interruption.”
It also said that the storm had destroyed P685 million worth of crops and agricultural equipment, as well as P72.95 million worth of public infrastructure.
In Cebu, the Manila Water consortium sent Monday a mobile water treatment plant to Alcantara, where it can supposedly transform murky stream water into drinkable water, at a rate of 1,500 to 3,000 liters of per hour.
This means four water treatment systems are now in place in the south, said Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunalo Jr.
These include the three water filtration systems provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the Mormons (not the Lutheran Church as reported earlier) in Barangays Ilaya, Tupas and Poblacion, all in Ronda.
The Mandaue City Government has promised to send a water tanker to the storm-wrecked town of Ronda today, January 6.
For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas will distribute water containers to four towns that the storm affected.
As of Monday, the DOH has not received any reports of diseases Seniang caused in the affected southern towns.
The agency is focusing on providing clean water and sanitation to affected residents, said Dr. Expedito Medalla It is also ready to provide antibiotics and other medicine should any ailments triggered by the storm be reported.
For its part, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) urged local government units to implement programs that would prevent deaths and injuries in calamities.
DENR-Central Visayas will also send geologists to the affected areas.
Eddie Llamedo, DENR-Central Visayas spokesperson, said that following Seniang, some areas that were earlier classified as having “moderate to high” risk of flooding will be upgraded to “high or critical” after these suffered from widespread flooding.
In Ronda, five members of one family died after floods from a river in Barangay Tupas entered their home.
“If there is already a history of flooding or landslides, there will always be the possibility that it would be repeated,” Llamedo also said.
He recommended that local governments enact ordinances that will declare some areas identified as at great risk of landslides and flooding as “no-habitation zones.”
Prolonged rains brought about by Tropical Storm Seniang last week also caused a landslide that damaged two houses in Barangay Casili, Mandaue City last Friday afternoon.
The landslide destroyed two bedrooms of the house owned by Jason Almagro, whose family has since moved out.
Cliff Borling, Almagro’s brother-in-law, said the family has rented another unit in the Casili Hills Subdivision as repairs on the house may take a year.
Felix Suico, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Mandaue City, said he has asked barangay officials to monitor the area closely and urged five families to relocate temporarily while rains continue.
Suico also said the tanker from the City will bring 50,000 to 75,000 liters of water to the residents of Ronda town.
It will be filled with water in Moalboal town before going to Ronda, where survivors have been clamoring for drinking water.
Last Friday, the City handed over relief goods to the Municipal Government of Ronda. Suico and other CDRRMO officials turned over 50 sacks of rice, 50 boxes of canned goods and another 50 boxes of noodles to Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III.
In an interview Monday, Dr. Expedito Medalla of DOH-Central Visayas told reporters that he and his staff will be with other government officials in southern Cebu to distribute 350 jerry cans.
Those who will receive the jerry cans are the towns of Sibonga, Dumanjug, Alcantara and Ronda. Each can can hold up to 20 liters of water.
Medalla, who is chief of the DOH-Central Visayas' Health Emergency Management Staff, said that aside from distributing water containers, they will also check if ailments have emerged after the storm.
DOH-Central Visayas will also visit Seniang-affected areas in Bohol to distribute water and medicine.
Last Saturday, Provincial General Services Office (PGSO) head Siegfred Sepe sent a dump truck with 1,000-liter tank to Alcantara and Ronda.
It was supposed to get potable water from Moalboal and distribute it to the barangays along the way.
Manila Water, the source of Monday's treatment plant bound for Alcantara, has entered into a joint venture with the Province to pursue the Cebu Bulk Water Project. This taps surface water from the Luyang River in Carmen, for household use.
Chemicals in the mobile water treatment plant that was sent to the south yesterday can last up to 10 days, said Edilberto Mercado, the mobile treatment plant operator. After that, it can be refilled.
“They will be on standby for as long as the LGU needs them,” said Tribunalo. (RSB/OCP/JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)