Flooding in the Philippines could spread infectious diseases, Health Department says

The Health Department in the Philippines "warned Monday of a possible spread of infectious diseases" in the capital of Manila, which has had the largest rainfall "in nearly half a century, according to the government weather bureau," the New York Times reports. Rains have flooded "80 percent of this metropolis of 12 million people" and killed at least 240 so far. The government declared a "'state of calamity' in metropolitan Manila and 25 storm-hit provinces, including many that had not flooded before, allowing officials to use emergency funds for relief and rescue," the newspaper writes (Conde, 9/27).

According to IRIN, the floods "destroyed much of the [Manila's] health infrastructure [and] overwhelmed emergency response capabilities." In addition, "hundreds of thousands of Filipinos" have been displaced and "survival is now a daily struggle in squalid, makeshift evacuation centres. Food and water are inadequate, while keeping basic standards of sanitation remains problematic as receding flood waters leave piles of rubbish and debris everywhere," IRIN writes in an article examining the health impact of the floods with a focus on sanitation issues (9/29).

"Officials in the Philippines say nearly 380,000 displaced persons have taken refuge in emergency shelters. The government has appealed for international help, saying it may not have sufficient resources to withstand another storm," VOA News reports. On Tuesday, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it will send more than 740 tons of rice - enough for about 180,000 people - to Manila. WFP said it is working with the government to determine what else is needed (9/29).

The U.S. has provided the Philippines with $100,000 for "immediate relief operations," GMANews.TV reports (See, 9/29).


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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