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Regional Updates (04/18/21)

Antique gets 4 sea ambulances to serve far-flung island communities

FOUR sea ambulances were delivered last week to Antique and will soon be turned over to four government hospitals across the province. The fiberglass boats, funded under the Department of Health’s (DoH) Health Facilities Enhancement Program, have a speed of up to 18 knots. Antique Rep. Loren B. Legarda, in a post on her Facebook page, said the vessels will enable “faster and more efficient delivery of medical services,” especially in the island communities. She cited as an example that travel between the island village of Mararison to the mainland town of Culasi will be only five minutes. The Culasi District Hospital is one of the recipients of the boats. Ms. Legarda also said that the medical vessel is crucial amid the coronavirus pandemic. DoH Provincial Team Leader Feman Rene M. Autajay, in an interview with government news agency PNA, said the boats are also useful as majority of the province’s 18 towns are coastal areas. The boats are currently in basic transportation form, but Mr. Autajay said it would eventually be fitted with medical equipment through DoH funding.

BFAR lifts red tide warning in Cancabato Bay

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) declared the area of Cancabato Bay in Leyte province as officially free from red tide contamination.

In its 10th shellfish bulletin, BFAR said all types of shellfish harvested from the area are now safe for human consumption after testing negative for red tide toxins. However, red tide warnings are still implemented in the areas of Dauis and Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Tambobo Bay, Negros Oriental; Calubian, Leyte; Dumanquillas Bay, Zamboanga del Sur; Balite Bay, Davao Oriental; and Lianga Bay and Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang sourced from the red tide affected areas are unfit for human consumption. However, other marine species can be eaten with proper handling. Red tide happens due to high concentrations of algae in the water. Human consumption of contaminated shellfish may result in paralytic shellfish poisoning, which affects the nervous system. Usual symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning include headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Severe cases may include muscular paralysis and respiratory issues. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Typhoon Bising weakens on Sunday afternoon, but heavy rains still expected until Monday

SOME residents of coastal areas in Catanduanes take temporary shelter at the provincial capitol building on April 18 after preemptive evacuation was ordered by the local government in preparation for typhoon Bising. Storm signal #2 was up in Catanduanes on Sunday.

TYPHOON Bising, with international name Surigae, weakened and slowed down on Sunday afternoon, but storm signals 1 and 2 in a five-level warning system remained up in several provinces on the eastern side of the country. State weather bureau PAGASA, in its 5 p.m. bulletin, said Bising’s maximum sustained winds dropped to 205 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center and gustiness of up to 250 km/h from 215 km/h and 265 km/h, respectively earlier in the day. As of 4 p.m., the typhoon’s eye was located 290 km east of Virac, Catanduanes, which was among the provinces under storm signal #2. “Tomorrow (19 April), moderate to heavy with at times intense rains will be experienced over Bicol Region and Northern Samar,” PAGASA said. “By Wednesday early morning, the typhoon is forecast to turn northeastward or east northeastward away from the landmass of Luzon,” it said. Local governments along the typhoon’s wide radius braced for strong winds and rains, with provinces like Catanduanes ordering preemptive evacuation in high-risk areas. Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr., in a statement on Sunday, said the Office of Civil Defense has been conducting pre-disaster risk assessments at the national level since Wednesday and has issued guidance and advisories to regional councils and local government units. The typhoon is seen to remain within the Philippine area until Friday. — with a report from Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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