7 children die of diarrhea in Siargao, 60 more hospitalized

(UPDATED: An earlier version of this story reported three children dead)

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews / 24 Dec) – Seven children from this town have already died as of Friday because of diarrhea since super typhoon “Odette” hit the island on December 16.

Residents line up to buy drinking water in General Luna, Siargao Island on Thursday (23 December 2021). MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

Dr. Timothy Jordan Manalang, municipal health officer, said Thursday that at least 60, most of them children, have been hospitalized at the Dapa District Hospital. Twenty more with diarrhea symptoms also sought consultation at the hospital but did not need admission, he added.

“That’s because there is a water crisis now,” seconded Dr. Rodrigo Arian, a doctor from Cebu who frequents the island. He said more people will get sick of diarrhea if they won’t have access to clean water.

Manalang urged residents to boil water for 30 minutes before drinking.

The Municipal Health Office, he said, has ran out of water purification tablets due to the spike of cases of diarrhea.

Dr. TJ Manalang, municipal health officer of General Luna in Siargao Island, said they have run out of water purification tablets. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

A 12-year-old girl who was admitted at the Dapa District Hospital said she had been vomiting and had loose bowel movement. “I still feel weak now,” she said, even though she has been discharged from the hospital.

Many Siargao residents rely on refilling stations for their drinking water, but most of these establishments have ceased operations because of the power outage.

Drinking water used to sell at P25 to P30 pesos per five-gallon container before the typhoon, but now costs P50.

RJ Del Rio, a local businessman here, said during a meeting among resort owners Thursday night that they need generators and fuel to be able to operate the refilling stations again. “Otherwise, many people will die,” he warned. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)