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Evacuation continues due to oil spill

September 26, 2006

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, Sept. 25, 2006

NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – The number of residents forced to leave their homes because of toxic fumes from the oil sludge continues to rise as officials quarantine the affected villages.

The Guimaras provincial social welfare and development office reported that the total evacuees reached 258 families or 1,111 persons as of September 20.

The local government evacuated the residents from five villages of Nueva Valencia and two villages in Sibunag.

These include 67 families and 326 persons in evacuation centers and 191 families and 785 persons who are staying with their relatives.

The evacuation started last August 30 after results of air samplings showed a high level of toxicity of the environment in the areas worst hit by the oil sludge.

The residents depend on the government and private donors for food.

Novelita Tayupon, 40, said her family receives 7.5 kilograms of rice and six cans of sardines as their ration for three days. She has four children aged 3 to 9 years old.

The officials brought them from their house along the coast of the village of Tando last week and transferred them to the makeshift quarters at the perimeter of the village plaza. Twenty-five other families stay in the plaza and in two tents beside it.

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