Secretary Enrique Ona on Friday urged displaced residents in Leyte and Eastern Samar to either boil or chlorinate drinking water after it was disclosed that several drinking water samples from Yolanda affected areas showed fecal contamination after water testing was done.
The results of the water testing showed that several samples from Leyte and Eastern Samar showed presence of fecal coliforms or E. Coli. The rapid Colilert 18 test kits were used.
“Local water districts should continue monitoring water safety for fecal contamination and residual chlorine,” the health chief urged, adding that adequately treated municipal water should have residual chlorine of 0.2-2ppm.
A team composed of representatives from the Department of Health, Local Water Utilities Administration, Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and Manila Water Company conducted the water testing for drinking water potability in several areas in Leyte (Sta. Fe, Tacloban, Tanauan) and Eastern Samar (10 municipalities including Hernani and Guiuan) from November 27-30.
“It is also important that broken pipes should be fixed and that residents should not tamper with these pipes as this will only increase risk of contaminating the water supply and those who source out water of unknown quality (shallow wells) should also disinfect their water,” Secretary Ona explained.
Water should be heated to a rolling boil up to 1–2 minutes and then allowed to cool before putting them in clean containers. The DOH and other humanitarian missions have also begun distributing jerry cans that can hold 20 liters of water while also providing hyposol (chlorine solution) or Aquatabs water purification tablets that are used to treat drinking water. Bottled water when available need not be treated.
“Families should always use safe and clean water, observe proper hand washing and personal hygiene so that diarrhea outbreaks can be prevented,” Ona said. PNA