Wednesday, December 21, 2011

News Update Disease fears grow after deadly Philippines flood

MANILA (AFP) - Philippines authorities on Wednesday warned of a growing threat from disease in crowded evacuation centres, after devastating flash floods in the country's south that left at least 1,022 dead or missing.

The government said 44,000 people who have lost their homes and belongings are living in makeshift relief centres five days after tropical storm Washi brought rampaging floodwaters that swept away villages on Mindanao island.

Even as hundreds of dead bodies piled up at mortuaries, Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag said efforts should focus on the evacuation centres which he described as potential breeding grounds for epidemics.

'We may be paying so much attention to the corpses we will ignore the evacuation centres,' Mr Tayag said in an interview on ABS-CBN television.