Evacuation of families near oil spill site urged

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ILOILO CITY: The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday advised Mayor Rene Cordero of Estancia to evacuate families living near the oil spill site in Barangay Botongon because of health risks.

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DOH Regional Director Marlyn Convocar said she is drafting a letter requesting the National Housing Authority to identify and develop transit housing for some 1,000 affected families in Estancia, including families in six barangays in nearby town Batad.

The oil spill was caused by National Power Corp.’s Power Barge 103 which sustained holes at the bottom of hull after being dislodged from its mooring station and ran aground at the rocky shoreline at the height of Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8.

Approximately 200,000 liters of oil were washed ashore and 50,000 liters spread on water surface while 1.2 million liters were left in the fuel tanks of the power barge.

The Power Sector Assets and Liability Management (Psalm) has contracted Kuan Yu Global Technologies Inc. to undertake the oil spill recovery and clean-up, and remove the remaining fuel oil in the tanks to prevent further spillage.

A total of 7,400 liters of spilt oil and 32 tons of oily debris were collected since November 9.

Full oil recovery and clean-up operation will be completed in two weeks with the help of Estancia local government, residents and personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard and the power barge.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council has assured that the oil spill will not affect the fishing industry in the area.

Meanwhile, several public schools in northern Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan and Antique are scheduled to resume classes on Monday, two weeks after Yolanda ravaged Visayas.

Students, however, will have to contend with tents and tarpaulins as 90 percent of schools were totally damaged including books and computers.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said damages in school buildings in the areas affected by the super typhoon could reach P1 billion as 1,300 schools were totally destroyed and 1,200 were partially damaged in Iloilo alone.

Repair of schools in Iloilo is estimated at P500 million and another P200 million in Capiz.
School principals were also instructed to coordinate with communities to rebuild schools with tarps, tents and to look for alternative venue for teaching the children.

The quick response fund of DepEd was depleted due to the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga clashes.

Lydia C. Pendon

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