TACLOBAN CITY: The Department of Health (DOH) warned residents here not to drink tap water saying that water system here has been contaminated following the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Yolanda three weeks ago.
In an inter-agency meeting on Wednesday, DOH Assistant Secretary Rosell Paulyn-Ubial said 29 out of the 45 water systems they tested have turned out positive for coliform bacteria, which means that the water is contaminated with feces.
“Water here is really dangerous and not safe for drinking. We advise residents not to drink directly from faucets,” Ubial said.
The DOH has urged every household to boil water for at least 20 minutes before drinking.
Ubial said the DOH with the help of the local government units is assisting households in conducting water treatment by providing aquatabs and chlorine solutions (waterine) to be placed in a 20 liter container for 30 minutes before consuming.
She stressed that all water sources should be examined including water tanks and water refilling stations.
Ubial said there must be a breakage in water systems in some parts of Leyte and Samar because of the typhoon, which led to the contamination of water.
As this developed, Ubial said there have been cases of diarrhea reported in Tacloban but dismissed the concern of having an outbreak in the city.
“We don’t want this to be blown out of proportion. We need to remove contaminants from the drinking water. Our teams are going around to establish areas for water chlorination,” she said.
As to the DOH response against dengue, Ubial encouraged residents to do “search-and-destroy” in households as well as in evacuation centers.
“Let’s us cover containers with water where mosquitoes could thrive. And let us maintain sanitation and cleanliness in our respective areas,” she said.
The government continues to work with the Japanese Self-Defense Force unit in conducting fumigations in evacuation centers.
Ubial also reported that the DOH already finished giving vaccinations to 6,000 children below five years old in Tacloban. They are still targeting 29,000 more children for immunization from measles.