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Oil spill evacuees asking for toothpaste, soaps

September 5, 2006

By Hazel P. Villa

NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras — Evacuees here and those residing in the islands affected by the oil spill from MT Solar 1 that sank off southern Guimaras on August 11 are thankful for the food and water provided by government institutions, Petron Corp., and donors – but the evacuees said they badly need toothpaste and body and laundry soaps.

The Red Cross Guimaras Chapter said that even before residents of hard-hit areas in Cabalagnan, Lapaz and Tando were evacuated this week, they have been asking for soaps and toothpaste.

Some 400 people or at least 134 families in the shorelines of Cabalagnan and Lapaz here have been evacuated or are staying with relatives.

Toxicity tests by Department of Health officials have shown high levels of hydrogen sulfide and aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene and xylene in the two coastal villages.

“Aside from food items, people in affected areas are asking for stuff for their personal hygiene like bath soap, laundry soap and toothpaste because they don’t have the money to buy these,” said Anna Maria “Lally” Nava, officer in charge of the Red Cross Guimaras Chapter.

Some 6,156 families, or 30,531 persons, in the coastal areas of four towns in Guimaras and two towns in Iloilo have been affected by the oil spill as of September 1, said the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council.

Nava, wife of Jordan mayor Felipe Nava, said the Red Cross and other relief agencies have mostly received canned goods, rice and noodles but not much of coffee, sugar and milk, which the affected residents are also asking for.

The Red Cross said small islets like Unisan, Panabulon, Naoway and Guiwanon in Nueva Valencia are also asking for food and toiletries.

(For the full story, click Toothpaste, Sept. 5, 2006.)

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