Sanitation woes bug fire victims

OVER P5 million has already been spent meeting the needs of the 2,222 families affected by the fire in Barangays Mantuyong and Guizo in Mandaue City last March 12.

The City Government of Mandaue, through a memorandum of agreement with Philippine Red Cross, provides assistance to affected families and maintains the evacuation area.

The grounds of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) have served as an evacuation camp for more than a month already.

“We have a lot of concerns inside the camp in terms of health, garbage, peace and order, and discipline,” Roger Paller, the City’s public information officer, said.

The families are grouped into five camps, led by their representatives who relay to the incident command post any concerns.

Two of the main problems inside the camp are waste disposal and sanitation.

Beatriz Pepito, 57, of Barangay Mantuyong housed in Camp 1 along with her six children and 21 grandchildren, said the smell from the portalets is unbearable.

She said water is scarce inside the camp, making it difficult for them to take a bath and do their laundry.

There are over 30 portalets inside the camp. Paller said their maintenance costs the City Government a lot of money.

Kanang portalet, kinahanglan na siya limpyohan, habwaon every three days (The portalets have to be cleaned after every three days),” Paller said.

The cost for cleaning each portalet is P2,500.

For a week, the City spends P150,000 to clean them.

Paller said the camp generates an average of 4.5 tons of waste per day.

Naa’y three shifts atong garbage trucks kada adlaw - 8 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m.,” he said.

Paller said he is thankful to donors from the private sector who continuously give assistance to the affected families.

“It’s a good thing nga daghan ang nang-donate, puli-puli ang donations,” he said.

Since March 16, there are 104 donors from the private sector, 23 of which remained anonymous.

A total of 6,412 sacks and boxes of assorted goods and 199 plastic bags and boxes of used clothing were received by the relief station.

Maria Niña Cabungcag, 24, a mother of two and a resident of Barangay Mantuyong, however, said they did not receive any relief goods for nine days.

Siyam na ka adlaw nga walay hinabang unya gahapon pa mi nakadawat og balik (We only receive help yesterday),” Cabungcag said.

The heat inside the camp is also a problem.

Ang amo ganing gihimong balay-balay gibutangan namog karton ang atop para dili kaayo init (We use cardboard to cover our shelters),” Cabungcag said.

She said they have to go to the market to fetch water because it is scarce inside the camp.

Kanang tubig sa bombero, mag-away-away pa gyod, mag-ilog-ilog sa tubig kay tagsa ra kaayo (People fought over water brought in by fire trucks),” she said.

As drinking, they buy bottled water.

Felix Suico Jr., the disaster official in-charge of the relief operations, said they are rationing the drinking water to the five camps.

Naa tay refilling station inig sulod nimo ari dapit sa gate, ari sa left, every day nag-refill gyod ta og tubig para imnon nila (We refill the water stations every week),” Suico said.

The station holds 700 liters of water and is refilled daily.

Paller also anticipated the arrival of La Niña, saying it will really be a problem if the affected families are still inside the CICC grounds when it comes.

Wala ta kahibaw kon unsay sitwasyon sa CICC kon mag-uwan unya ang uban ra ba ani nila kay naa sa gawas nagtolda (Some of the fire victims stay in tents outside. We don’t know what will happen when it rains),” Paller said.

The City Government has prepared a timetable for establishing water sewage systems in Barangays Mantuyong and Guizo.

The areas are catchbasins of water coming from Ibabao and other nearby barangays.

The timetable is four months, but Paller said they have to rush it before July when the rain starts.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has warned the public on the possibility of La Niña later this year. Dennis Carlo M. Premacio, USJ-R Comm Intern

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