?MANILA – At least 14 residents from ??one of ?the ?nine coastal towns affected by a massive oil spill ?in the Philippines have fallen sick.
They were taken to hospital with symptoms including nausea, difficulty in breathing and dizziness.
However, a health official said on Tuesday that the residents’ symptoms were mostly short term and eventually eased after they received medical attention. Only one patient, who is suffering from asthma, has been admitted to the hospital so far.
Pola town mayor Jennifer Cruz said the residents fell ill as black sludge started coating their white sand beaches after a tanker loaded with 800,000 litres of industrial fuel oil capsized off Oriental Mindoro island last week.
The Department of Health has advised residents to avoid consuming seafood and water from affected towns.
Responders have been told to always wear protective gear and face masks during the cleanup operations. Vulnerable residents such as the elderly and the immunocompromised have been advised to stay away from oil spill-hit areas.
Pola is the hardest-hit of the nine towns where the provincial government has declared a state of calamity. This declaration will allow local officials to tap the national government’s calamity funds, and to put a price freeze on basic commodities.
Ms Cruz said the oil spill is already hurting Pola’s tourism industry, as holidaymakers have started cancelling their resort bookings.
The mayor also placed the town under a curfew from 8pm to 4am to prevent younger residents from wandering near the oil spill-hit shores.
“The oil spill will have a huge impact on our livelihood, environment and especially our health. It’s been five days since the oil slick reached our shores, and it is already hurting our fisherfolk, who have no means to earn money,” said Ms Cruz.
Diesel and industrial fuel oil leaked from the MT Princess Empress after it encountered engine trouble and sank in rough seas off the coast of Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro on Feb 28.
Support Lumiserver & Cynesys on Tipeee
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.
Now you can get a free first transfer up to 500£ with your ESNcard. You can access this offer here.