Negros Occidental

Aid mission eases water, medical problems in Sipalay City

Marchel Espina
Aid mission eases water, medical problems in Sipalay City

The first of two aquacubes arrives in Sipalay City, with the capacity to produce 2,000 liters of potable water per hour.

Rotary Club District 3850 photo

The aquacube and water purifiers will prevent outbreaks of illness but Sipalay needs more medical aid, food, clothing, footwear and housing materials

BACOLOD CITY – The delivery of an Aquacube water purifier capable of producing 2,000 liters of potable water an hour has  eased the drinking water shortage problems of devastated Sipalay City, Mayor Gina Lizares said on Sunday, December 26.

Rotary Clubs under District 3850 brought the Aquacube and a generator to run it. They also provided 1,000 family packs to the badly-hit barangays of Cabadiangan, Mambaroto, and Nabulao while doctor volunteers treated 400 other residents, including those seriously injured during Typhoon Odette’s rampage in the early hours of December 17. 

Sipalay needs more health services, said medical mission head and Rotary 3850 past district governor Dr. Jundad Legisladod

 “We saw a lot of infections from wounds that were not treated immediately,” he said. “We actually ran out of antibiotics to dispense and had to prioritize patients with severe wounds.”

Felizardo Dela Cruz, 69, gets treatment for his severely infected leg. (Courtesy of Rotary District 3850)

Legislador said the medical team’s supply of tetanus shots may have prevented grave health problems.

“A few days more and I am sure there would have been tetanus cases in Sipalay,” Legislador noted.

One patient, Felizardo dela Cruz, 69, was brought down by Rotarians from Brgy. Cabadiangan because he could barely walk after surviving floods by hanging on to a flat wooden bed.

Dela Cruz’s wounds were severely infected and his right leg was so swollen doctors had to open it up to release the pressure, Legislador said.

Floodwaters swept away Dela Cruz as he was checking belongings in his house’s lower level.

“I found myself more than a kilometer from my place and didn’t notice the wounds on my legs, which were probably from the debris I tried to kick from underneath me as I was being swept by the waters,” he added.

City disaster head, Danilo Bogtae said an additional Aquacube from Sagay, scheduled for delivery next week, will prevent the spread of illness in Sipalay, where Typhoon Odette destroyed 3,000 houses and thousands of families remained in evacuation centers. 

The first Aquacube is currently stationed at the City Hall. The water was provided by firefighters of Himamaylan City that joined the mission.

The Rotarians also brought a generator to run the equipment loaned by the Sagay City government. They turned over 25 water purifiers to Mayor Lizares for deployment in far-flung barangays, including five units donated by Adtel Incorporated.

Rotarians brought 25 water purifiers for far-flung villages of Sipalay City. (Courtesy of Rotary District 3850)

“Our water requirements are now sufficient but we continue to appeal for food, hygiene kits, clothing and footwear for our residents,” Lizares said. “Thousands are still in evacuation centers and they are also appealing for construction materials so they can go back to their homes and start rebuilding.”

The city disaster office said there are 8,500 partially damaged houses needing repairs.

Meanwhile, Sipalay also welcomed a Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergency (MOVE) unit from the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s Government Emergency Communications System (GECS) project.

The MOVE unit allows residents to avail of  free charging, free calls, and free chat and video calls through the program’s WiFi service and Emergency Cellular Service.

DICT leads the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster or ETC of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Cluster, which aims to strengthen the government’s capacity in disaster preparedness and response.

Sipalay residents flock to the Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergency (MOVE) to charge gadgets and make free phone calls. (Sipalay City government photo)

Mayor Lizares asked residents for patience, saying they have started delivering aid to villages in Barangays Gil Montilla, Cartagena and Nabulao.

“We promise to give aid to all affected residents in our 17 barangays,” the mayor said on December 27. “We will also respond to all your complaints and suggestions,” she added on a Facebook post in Ilonggo. –