Stagnant, dirty water already Marawi affecting IDPs: report

HEALTH workers advised internally displaced persons (IDPs) to look for clean sources of running water after receiving numerous complaints for skin allergies and other diseases.

The health workers, some of them from volunteer organizations, said there were IDPs who regularly bathed in the city’s bodies of water, such as the coasts and the rivers.

According to latest data, the city is hosting 1,607 IDPs from Marawi City who fled to escape the conflict between government troops and the Maute group terrorists holed up inside the city for three months since May.

The most number of IDPs here were registered in the coastline area of Barangay 23-C, with 880 refugees living mostly with relatives. The next highest number of IDPs are in Barangay Lubogan in Toril, Davao City.

There are 230 Marawi IDPs living in Lubogan.

Quota International charter President and Philippine Nurses Association official Roy Linao, Jr., in an interview, said that the most number of complaints treated by volunteers included skin allergies.

“We heard reports that some of them bathe along the rivers and beaches,” Linao said.

The next common complaints were colds and fever.

The Philippine Statistics Authority notes that the city’s beaches have long been deemed unclean.

In an earlier study authored by Marichu P. Panio and Carmelita P. Martinez, research showed that there were various sources of contamination in the city’s beaches alone, such as the Davao River flowing directly into the sea.

This, aside from three drainage canals from the city directly flowing into the sea “with visible excreta from direct defecation to the water by nearby residents,” as well as washed off pollution by waves during high tide.

“The geomorphology of the area from resettlement site to marshal reserve and fishing ground; commercial resorts to privately- owned ones make the land use of Times Beach more complicated and conflicting,” the study noted.

Meanwhile, the Task Force Davao (TFD) said other barangays with Marawi City IDPs include barangays 5-A, 6-A, 8-A, 25-C, 27-C, 39-D, 22-C, 26-C, 76-A, 9-A, Gumalang, Mandug, Waan, Indangan, Talomo, Calinan, Sasa, Tigatto, Bangkal, Maa, and the Muslim Village in Ecoland.

Barangay leaders and authorities said they regularly monitor newcomers in these communities and make sure there are relatives who could vouch for them.

At the very least, TFD commander Col. Erwin Bernard Neri told reporters, the identities of the IDPs must be confirmed.  The TFD conducted an outreach program, along with at least 30 stakeholder partners, for the Marawi IDPs.

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