After Odette devastation, Siargao now dealing with deaths due to diarrhea

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 30 2021 10:42 AM | Updated as of Dec 30 2021 10:56 AM

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MANILA – The death toll following the onslaught of typhoon Odette in Surigao del Norte is now at 23, while there are at least 8 deaths due to diarrhea, Governor Francisco “Lalo” Matugas said Thursday.

The governor said the island paradise was dealing with a diarrhea outbreak, overcrowding hospitals in the area.

"We have a diarrhea outbreak, in fact as of yesterday we have already treated more than 200, and now in our district hospital there are 90 or 95 in-patients," he said.

"Marami pa rin doon, sa bahay lang nila, but we were able to cope, merong mga doctors na dumadating and helping us, from other regions, so parang na-contain na namin yung diarrhea."

[There are many patients still in their homes, but we were able to cope because doctors from other regions came to help us, so we were able to contain the situation.]

"Because we are treating lalo na yung potable water, yun ang official findings ng doctors, galing sa tubig yung naka-cause ng diarrhea," he explained.

[Because we are treating, especially the potable water. The official finidings of the doctors revealed that impurities in water caused the diarrhea outbreak.)

On Monday, Nature Kids of Siargao founder Sanne Sevig appealed to the public for help, as she reported that children were dying of diarrhea in Siargao. 

“I know that a lot of the kids now, they have diarrhea and they’re really dehydrated, and I guess that’s an aftermath of the amoebiasis,” said Nature Kids of Siargao founder Sanne Sevig.

Matugas said they struggled with access to clean, potable water in the first few days after Odette's onsalught.

"Initially, during the first few days after Odette, talagang acute, lalo na si Siargao, kasi for seven days after Odette hit us, December 16, walang sea transportation, kasi nasira yung mga RORO cargo vessels, so it was only on the eighth day na naka-start sila, they resumed their operations."

[Initially, during the first few days after Odette,the situation was really acute, especially in Siargao, because for seven days after Odette hit us, December 16, there was no sea transportation because roll-on-roll-off cardio vessels were destroyed, so it was only on the eighth day that they restarted, they resumed their operations.]

"And the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard has helped us, pero yung mga vessels nila [but their vessels] are small ones, can carry only limited number of tonnage to bring these cargoes to the island."

Matugas said relief operations are still ongoing in the province.

"So far as distribution is concerned, ongoing tayo, in fact there are already municipalities na twice, three times na [ang] pagdistribute. So hindi lang one time, pero, doble doble na. But we’re still ongoing, lahat ng dumarating na mga relief goods, dini-distribute kaagad namin," he said.

[So far as distribution is concerned, it's ongoing tayo, in fact there are already municipalities that have received good twice or thrice. So the've been given releief goods more than once. But we’re still ongoing, all relief goods that arrive are being distributed.]

"Lalo na yung sa mga affected families, yung wala nang bahay, yung walang shelter. So, we are also starting to distribute construction materials. Meron mga tent, tarpaulin na dumarating, pinapa-distribute namin para naman cover yung mga shelter o bahay ng mga affected families."

[Especially for thise affected families, those who don't have shelter anymore. So we are also starting to distribute construction materials. When tents and tarpaulins arrive, we distribute them right away to the affecred families.]

Meanwhile, communication lines are slowly being restored in the province, said Surigao del Norte 1st District Representative Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas.

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“Unang-una yung komunikasyon, unti-unti na pong bumabalik, ang Smart at saka Globe, eto na po, kaya nga nakatawag na po kayo,” he said.

[First of all, communication is slowly being restored. Globe and Smart are back, that's why you were able to call.]

“Kaya lang nasa, naglibot ako nung other day, nasa apat na bayan yung may komunikasyon."

“Pero yung lima, wala pa po. Inaayos kasi medyo yung area kasi, yung mga cell sites, sa mga bukid, medyo mahirap po pasukin. So kini-clear pa ng (Department of Public Works and Highways) para mapasok sila ng mga telco,” he added

[But when I went around the other day, only four towns had cellphone signal. The other five did not, because these areas are still being cleared. These are cell sites in fields that cannot be visited yet. DPWH is still clearing the areas so telcos can enter.]

Matugas added that five electric cooperatives are now ready to help restore power in the province.

He added, however, that the repair of power lines may not be completed within the day, 

“Sa kuryente po wala pa po, medyo baka ma-delay na naman. Pero inaayos na po ngayon, meron na pong 5 electric cooperatives from different provinces na tumutulong sa pag-aayos ng kuryente, kaso medyo made-delay kasi umuulan ngayon dito.”

[As for the restoration of electricity, it might be delayed again. We are working on repairs, five electric cooperatives from different are now helping us, but repairs might be delayed because it is raining today.]

Communication and power lines were cut in Surigao del Norte after it was battered by typhoon Odette. 

More than 100,000 houses in the province were affected by the typhoon. 

--TeleRadyo, 30 December 2021