ARMM Health workers on stand-by after Vinta wrought havoc in Sulu Sea
Bongao, Tawi-Tawi (December 26, 2017) – The Department of Health of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOH-ARMM) has issued a red alert and stand-by order to all Health workers in the region especially those under the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) of Tawi-Tawi.
This came after the DOH-ARMM received reports of fishermen, not only from the region but from other regions as well, caught by Tropical Storm Vinta on the borders of Tawi-Tawi and southern Palawan in the Sulu Sea, one of the country’s major fishing areas.
Two days ago, the office of the Philippine Coast Guard based in the town of Mapun in Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi contacted the field hospital of IPHO Tawi-Tawi for medical assistance after it rescued 74 fishermen.
Dr. Marilou Sta. Cruz reported to IPHO Tawi-Tawi chief Dr. Sangkula G. Laja that the rescued fishermen were immediately brought to the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi District Hospital for treatment, noting that majority had lacerations and minor injuries.
Forty-one (41) of the 74 were admitted for observation due to severe exhaustion, dehydration and other concomitant medical problems. A makeshift extension of the hospital was built to accommodate those needing medical attention and to serve as temporary shelter for the survivors.
The report noted two fishermen who died due to drowning at the height of the storm were brought by the Coast Guard to Mapun. Most of the fishermen survivors were from the Visayas.
Vinta hit southern Palawan late last week exacting severe damage to Mangsee, an island in the town of Balabac used as shelter by Sulu Sea fishermen during times of bad weather. Initial and unconfirmed reports noted about 800 houses on the island were destroyed and more than 20 boats have capsized at the height of the storm.
Rescued fishermen told Coast Guard officials they anchored their motor boats near Mangsee but strong winds and huge waves, as tall as three-story buildings, forced their boats to drift away from the island. (Bureau of Public Information)