MANILA, Philippines – The city governments of Muntinlupa and Las Piñas are warning residents of possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases because floodwaters brought by the monsoon may remain stagnant.
Muntinlupa public information chief Omar Acosta said 48 areas in eight barangays near Laguna de Bay remain submerged. Of the city’s nine barangays, only Barangay Ayala Alabang was spared from floods.
As of Thursday, the city recorded one fatality from leptospirosis. Acosta said Mayor Aldrin San Pedro fears the number may go up as the floodwaters may remain stagnant for a month, “just like what happened to us when (tropical storm) ‘Ondoy’ struck (in 2009).”
The floodwaters may take time to subside because Laguna de Bay is overflowing and may continue to swell as it catches water from the nearby provinces of Laguna and Rizal, he said.
The city has about 4,200 families in evacuation centers. The figure excludes those brought to their relatives because they can longer be accommodated in the clogged evacuation centers.
Acosta said if the city were to combine the figures, the total number of calamity victims would surpass the number of evacuees recorded during Ondoy.
Because of the stagnant waters and the number of calamity victims, the city government is concerned about a possible dengue outbreak. Acosta said San Pedro observed mosquitoes in evacuation centers.
“The city is really in need of mosquito nets and insect repellant, especially for the children,” he said.
Acosta said the city is doing its best to attend to the needs of the calamity victims by providing portalets and supplying them with baths and potable water, food, and other basic necessities.
The local government has also set up different teams that will focus on relief good distributions and medical concerns, among others. Acosta still appealed for help. “It is no joke to feed 4,000 families,” he said.
In Las Piñas, Mayor Vergel Aguilar advised residents to take measures to avoid the spread of waterborne diseases.
He told residents who waded in floodwaters to go to the city’s 30 health centers to get free doses of the antibiotic doxycycline.
Aguilar also warned the public of respiratory illnesses, diarrhea and typhoid fever prevalent during the rainy season. He also reminded them to boil their drinking water if they suspect their water pipes have leaks. – Aie Balagtas See, Perseus Echeminada