Food poisoning downs 216 flood survivors in Agusan del Sur town

Food poisoning downs 216 flood survivors in Agusan del Sur town

/ 12:41 PM February 21, 2024

PHOTO: The food poisoning victims of Tandang Sora are being attended to at the Esperanza Medicare Community Hospital. STORY: Food poisoning downs 216 flood survivors in Agusan del Sur town

The food poisoning victims of Tandang Sora are being attended to at the Esperanza Medicare Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy of the Esperanza Municipal Information Office)

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur, Philippines — A total of 216 residents affected by floods in Esperanza town’s isolated village of Tandang Sora were reportedly poisoned by food served to them on Monday evening by staff members of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

Dr. Maria Theresa Labiao, the municipal health officer, however, informed reporters in a press conference on Tuesday morning that all the patients suffering from vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea had already shown improvement after receiving immediate medication at the Esperanza Medicare Community Hospital (EMCH), where most of the victims were promptly rushed.


Dr. Jaqueline Momville, the provincial health officer, said they would not be able to determine whether it was the food or drinking water that caused the poisoning until the laboratory results from the health surveillance unit and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine are released.


The victims were served chicken liver adobo with boiled egg and rice by the volunteer staff and cooks of the PRC Agusan del Sur chapter.

About three hours after they had eaten, some of them started experiencing pain, prompting barangay health workers to report to Labiao.

Within an hour, they were already rushed to EMCH and were immediately administered with intravenous fluids and other medicines to prevent dehydration.

It was learned, however, that only 216 of the 1,000 given the food packs got sick. Most of them were young toddlers and elderly persons. The food contained in the food packs was cooked from the food trucks sent by the PRC national office under the “Hot Meals on Wheels” program to aid flood victims.

Esperanza Mayor Deo Manpatilan, Jr., said the victims in Tandang Sora were among the 7,000 flood-affected residents served by the PRC feeding initiatives. “Nothing happened to the earlier recipients,” he assured.

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Darwina Ligan, head of the PRC Agusan del Sur chapter, said they could not yet confirm whether it was the food that they served or the water the victims drank that caused the mass food poisoning.

“Doctors are still collecting stool samples from the victims for laboratory testing,” Ligan stated.

Before leaving EMCH at 2 pm on Tuesday, Ligan observed that most of the victims were already in stable condition.

Four food trucks were sent by PRC head Richard Gordon to the flood-stricken victims in Agusan del Sur, each accompanied by five student volunteers who served as servers and two cooks. Ligan said the volunteers’ team in Tandang Sora also ate the same food that the victims had taken but did not feel sick.

Labiao said a midwife and barangay health workers manning the barangay health center were the first responders, medicating the initial five patients and immediately contacting the Municipal Health Office and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office for help.

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Manpatilan assured that the discharged patients would be provided with hygiene kits, food, and non-food items to support them until the floodwaters subside to normal levels.

TAGS: Agusan del Sur, food poisoning

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