October 16, 2006

Guimaras evacuees continue living in tents

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, Oct. 15, 2006

NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – The lack of drinking water and the uncertainty over when they will finally be able to go home continue to hound evacuees from the oil spill here more than two months after the oil tanker Solar I went down in rough seas off Guimaras and polluted the coast of the island province and parts of Iloilo.

“We want to go home. It’s nearly a month that we have been staying here,” said 40-year old Susan Gratique.

Susan, her husband Artemio, and five of their seven children have been staying in a four by three-meter section of a large tent in Nueva Valencia’s Barangay Tando since September 20. Six other families live in the tent set up by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). Gratique’s family sleeps in two beds made of bamboo slats.

There are 44 families staying in the evacuation center and in tents around the plaza. The families were evacuated from their houses along the shore after tests showed high levels of toxicity.

The evacuees lack a steady and adequate supply of drinking water. They were provided with purified water during the first week of the evacuation but they now get their supply from the town’s water system.

(For the full story, click 2 months after.)


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