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Report: Oil spill from Yolanda-damaged barge raises air poison levels in Iloilo village

November 22, 2013 8:00am

Fumes from an oil spill from a National Power Corp. barge damaged by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has raised air poison levels in a village in Estancia town in Iloilo province, an Iloilo-based news site reported Friday.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said air pollution levels at Barangay Botongon had reached 16.9 parts per million, which is considered critical, The Daily Guardian reported.

Ona also called for an “urgent relocation” of the 1,174 families or 4,444 people in the area after he went to the area Thursday with Dr. Bessie Antonio, an oil spill toxicologist from the Poison Control Unit of East Avenue Medical Center.

“The first step of action is to control the spread of the leak and to get in touch with health facilities. There must be daily monitoring. We still cannot assess how long this will last because we still have to check with the experts,” he added.

For her part, Antonio warned the oil spill may cause cough and fever, and long-term conditions like a plastic anemia, lung cancer and leukemia.

The Daily Guardian cited data from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority saying the current legal limit for this oily discharge is 15 parts of oil to one million parts of water (15 parts per million).

Bunker fuel spilled from the Napocor's Power Barge 103 after big waves from Yolanda caused it to slam into the shoreline.

The barge had also crashed into a house, killing Gael Manguito, 59, and Keycha Manguito, 2. Many family members were injured.

Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero said the oil spill may have reached as far as neighboring Batad town, about 10 km away.

He said this may affect the livelihood of local residents, which is fishing.

Ona said national and local government officials will provide assistance to those affected by the oil spill. He added Napocor should also help since it owns the barge.

Meanwhile, the DOH on Thursday took random samples of air and water and of marine life like fish and shells. These will be brought to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). — LBG, GMA News
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