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39 deaths reported in Marawi evacuation sites

COTABATO -– Health officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Friday reported 39 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have died in various evacuation centers since hostilities erupted in Marawi City.
Despite efforts of ARMM health department to promote proper sanitation, hygiene and health in the midst of massive displacement among Marawi City residents, official data showed a total of 39 deaths, 19 of which were validated as to the cause of death, Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, ARMM health secretary, said.
He said among the fatalities were three children who died of severe dehydration due to acute gastroenteritis a highly preventable disease. Two adults died of heart problems.
Contaminated water due to overcrowding and unsanitary human waste disposal was seen as the main cause of death, he added.
Parents also complained of difficulty in bringing their children to hospitals in Lanao del Sur due to strict security and lack of transportation.
Sinolinding said aside from establishing health emergency hospitals, mental health and psychosocial intervention were also rendered to ease the trauma experienced by the children.
Nutrition services also include provision of high energy food supplement, micronutrient powder and the creation of soup kitchen in evacuation centers.
To contain the possibility of an outbreak of various diseases, two filtered water bladder fit for consumption were established. Waste disposal was addressed by the construction of semi-permanent water sealed toilets for IDPs s the days of displacement is dragging towards the 4th week.
"We are looking at all possibilities, the IDPs are highly vulnerable to water borne diseases in crowded and unsanitary places," Sinoliding said.
He said health workers walked extra mile in preventing more deaths in temporary shelters in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UNICEF.
Despite the number of fatalities, Sinolinding said health workers will continue attending to the needs of IDPs without let up.
The 150 strong health providers, including physicians, nurses, midwives and health volunteers, are working day in day out to prevent outbreak of any disease.
Since May 23, DOH-ARMM had provided medical intervention to 4,003 IDPs, including examination, provision of medicine, referrals, hospital care.
Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, meanwhile, said the ARMM rescue units are trying to reach out to 1,079 "trapped civilians" as the fighting in the city proper slowed down.
"We have received distress calls, we have mapped out their locations," she said of the civilians who could not leave as bombings and airstrikes continue.
She said the ARMM Crisis Management Center (CMC) has listed 35 persons who remained missing and could not be reached by any other means. (PNA)
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Last Modified: 2017-Aug-17 03.20.25 UTC+0800