Toll among Marawi evacuees hits 27 – Ubial

June 29, 2017 - 11:25 AM
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Inside the evacuation camp in Saguairan, Lanao del Sur. (photo by McMorrie Bidara, BPI-ARMM)

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 27 evacuees from Marawi City have died since May 23, when fighting between extremist gunmen and government forces sent thousands of people fleeing, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said Thursday.

In a radio interview, Ubial said 19 of the displaced residents who died were already suffering from conditions before they fled while the remaining eight succumbed to diseases contracted in evacuation centers.

With only 20 percent of displaced Marawi residents staying in evacuation centers, Ubial said health workers are conducting house-to-house visits to monitor the health of displaced persons.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates the crisis has displaced 82,767 families, or 403,052 persons, in Marawi City and 20 municipalities of Lanao del Sur and two more in Lanao del Norte.

“We already disseminated the hotline numbers of the Office of Civil Defense and the DOH should they need health assistance. There are ambulances and other vehicles that can bring them to hospitals if they need to,” Ubial said in Filipino.

After weeks of staying in evacuation centers, a number of displaced persons reported contracting fevers and coughs due to the crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Ubial earlier said they were already working with the Department of Public Works and Highways to build temporary shelters with toilets, bathrooms, and laundry areas, as well as semi-permanent latrines with septic tanks.

Portalets are no longer an option since they last only two weeks at most. The crisis has dragged on for more than a month now.

The 811 personnel of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center have also been also assigned to evacuation centers around Marawi City, their numbers augmented by health workers from the Zamboanga, Soccsksargen, and Northern Mindanao regions, Ubial said.