DOH: Evacuate Cordova coastal areas

Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - August 22, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Health-7 has advised immediate evacuation for families and fishermen living near coastal areas in the town of Cordova because of the possible dangers brought by the oil spill caused by the collision of two vessels.

DOH-7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance unit officer Renan Cimafranca said that the evacuation is temporary until the oil spill’s health hazards are gone.

He said everyone should not compromise their health and should evacuate immediately.

But Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy disagreed.

“I don’t see the need to evacuate the families in the coastal areas and I hardly disagree because it’s impractical. Di man pud na mangirog mga tawhana (fishermen), di man gani na mangirog kun bagyo, (Those people will not even leave during stormy weather.)” Sitoy said.

Around two thousand families of fishermen from 11 out of 12 barangays in the town are affected by the oil spill.

According to Sitoy, it is impossible to evacuate all 2,000 fishermen and the affected families living along the coastal areas considering that the town has no evacuation centers.

Bakasi (saltwater eel) vendor Teresa Rapada, 64, said they will never evacuate and leave the sea even if the mayor will force them.

Cimafranca also advised the families to use masks to lessen the risk of chronic health problems.

Cordova Municipal health officer Dr. Christopher Calimbas said they were not able to distribute masks to the affected families due to shortage of stocks.

MHO prioritized the distribution of masks to volunteers or front liners of the cleanup operations.

Calimbas promised to distribute the masks within the week to those affected families.

Cimafranca said the consumption of any variety of affected sea foods and direct exposure to the oil spill will contribute to severe fever, stomachache, vomiting and headache. It will also cause lung failure and skin and eye damage.

Meanwhile, Capitol officials and employees joined the cleanup operations yesterday along with people’s organizations (PO), the local government unit of Cordova and fishermen.

The cleanup operations covered four barangays in Cordova: Poblacion, Catarman, Buagsong and Bangbang.

Wives of the fishermen also helped make an improvised oil spill boom. All materials were donated by the private sector and the town’s social welfare department.

Sitoy said he employs 100 fishermen everyday to help clean the shorelines affected by oil spill.

The fishermen were given allowances by the LGU but Sitoy did not disclose the amount.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s successful coastal cleanup in Cordova and Lapu-Lapu City showed the importance of “bayanihan.”

Hundreds of volunteer divers in Lapu-Lapu City, barangay officials, high school students and barangay residents led by Mayor Paz Radaza helped clean up the coastal areas in the city.

 â€œNindot gyud kaayo kon kitang tanan magtinabangay pagsulbad sa bisan unsang problema ilabi na gayud kon kini kabahin sa hulga sa atong turismo, (It is very good if we all help each other to solve any problem especially if this addresses tourism threats.)” Radaza said.

Aside from the city’s coastal barangays, the cleanup also focused on barangays Canjulao, Looc, Calawisan, Suba-Basbas, Marigondon and Poblacion.

Radaza expressed her thanks to those who joined the activity. — With Jose P. Sollano/MIT (FREEMAN)

BUAGSONG AND BANGBANG BUT CORDOVA MAYOR ADELINO SITOY CIMAFRANCA CORDOVA CORDOVA AND LAPU-LAPU CITY CORDOVA MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DR. CHRISTOPHER CALIMBAS FISHERMEN SITOY
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