Child who fled from fighting dies of dehydration in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines –- A four-year-old child has died due to dehydration in one of the evacuation centers in Maguindanao as the military’s all-offensive against lawless elements entered its 30th day Thursday, officials said.
Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr, regional health secretary in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOH-ARMM), said the boy died Wednesday of dehydration due to severe diarrhea while staying as an evacuee at the Libutan Elementary School, Barangay (village) Libutan, Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
“Sad to say, one evacuee has died,” Sinolinding who has been monitoring the health of all internally displaced persons since day one, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Sinolinding said at least 10,000 of more than 120,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been sick with various diseases in Maguindanao’s 15 municipalities affected by the military operation against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“More or less 10,000 people are sick and still counting,” he said, adding that cough, fever and colds have become the most common illnesses.
“Coming next is epigastric pain and hypertension which are triggered by anxiety, fear, apprehension with the situation they are currently in,” he added.
The regional health secretary feared of an outbreak of diarrhea due to lack of safe drinking water.
“We started rationing of clean water Wednesday,” Sinolinding said even as he appealed for donations of drinking water.
“We are doing everything to prevent an outbreak of any disease,” he added.
Fifteen health stations (one per affected town) have been established and one mini-hospital with ambulance in Barangay Libutan manned by Maguindanao-based health providers and Nurses Deployment Project (NDP) nurses from Lanao del Sur and other non-affected towns in Maguindanao.
He lauded physicians and nurses associations, military doctors and nurses in Maguindanao and nearby areas for extending a helping hand with continuing medical missions to IDP areas.
Sinolinding said special attention was also focused on pregnant and lactating mothers in the evacuation sites.
“We are giving appropriate care and attention to mothers who are at risk of miscarriage and premature delivery due to the difficult situation in evacuation sites,” he said.
“Sometimes I suffer lower back pains,” said Podzia Kamsa, 30 of Barangay Nunangan, Talayan, Maguindanao, who is seven months pregnant for her eighth child.
Kamsa had been in evacuation center in Talayan the past eight days and described her “temporary home” as an “oven.”
“The heat is unbearable, we want to go home. I don’t want to deliver my baby here,” she said.
Kamsa is one of the more than 2,000 pregnant women in evacuation sites.
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