Evacuees line up for medical check as fears of outbreak threaten schools and other evacuation centers where residents who lost their homes to flashfloods and landslides caused by typhoon Sendong seek shelter.

MANILA, Dec 22 (Mabuhay) – Wary of a possible outbreak of diseases especially in evacuation centers, the Cagayan de Oro City government is now conducting medical “outreach” programs to examine and give vitamins to residents.

Mayor Vicente Emano said he ordered the medical outreach even as he assured residents that the health situation remains “manageable.”

“Hindi gaano karami (ang maysakit) pero pinatingnan ko lang, baka dumami pa. Kahapon nagpa-medical outreach ako. Ang report ng duktor, hindi gaano at nabigyan ng gamot ang maysakit. Lahat pinatingnan ko kahit ang walang sakit,” Emano said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

He also said he ordered the purchase of medicines and vitamins Wednesday to sustain the medical outreach programs.

Cagayan de Oro City was among the areas hit hardest by “Sendong,” which brought floods that devastated parts of Mindanao and Visayas last weekend.

As of Thursday morning, the death toll from Sendong stood at 1,010, making it the deadliest cyclone to hit the Philippines in the last 12 years.

Also on Thursday, Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said relief efforts for victims of Sendong may have to be sustained until March 2012.


On Tuesday, Gwendolyn Pang, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) secretary general, said some evacuees in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were beginning to get sick a few days after they were displaced from their homes.

“Yung iba, paubo-ubo, pasipon-sipon. Siyempre, wala silang maayos na tirahan,” Pang said in a phone interview.

She said while her organization has recorded only a few incidents of diseases in evacuation centers so far, they are wary that more displaced residents will get sick in the coming days because of water shortage.

Meanwhile, Emano said he ordered medical teams to administer anti-tetanus medicine to residents.

“Kahapon in-order ko sa duktor kailangan ng anti-tetanus serum,” he said.

The eMedicineHealth.com website describes tetanus as an infectious disease caused by contamination of wounds from the bacteria Clostridium tetani, or the spores they produce that live in the soil, and animal feces.

It said tetanus occurs when a wound becomes contaminated with Clostridium tetani bacterial spores. Infection follows when spores become activated and develop into gram-positive bacteria that multiply and produce a very powerful toxin (tetanospasmin) that affects the muscles.

“Tetanus results in severe, uncontrollable muscle spasms. For example, the jaw is ‘locked’ by muscle spasms, causing the disease to sometimes be called ‘lockjaw.’ In severe cases, the muscles used to breathe can spasm, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs that may possibly lead to death,” it said. (MNS)