U.S. Water News Online
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines -- More than 700 people, mostly
children, were hospitalized because of a diarrhea outbreak in a
southern Philippine city that followed rumors that its water supply
had been poisoned.
Officials quickly deployed troops to guard Zamboanga's reservoir
from a Muslim extremist group, the Abu Sayyaf, which had threatened
to poison the city's water supply.
More than 100 people were confined to hospitals in Zamboanga,
about 530 miles south of Manila, since the outbreak, said Alejo
Roxas, assistant manager of the local water cooperative.
``We can't take this lightly and we are taking precautionary
measures. Sold iers have been deployed to guard the reservoir,''
Patients complain of severe stomach pain and vomiting. No deaths
have been reported.
Authorities were still analyzing water samples, Roxas said.
Roxas and city health officers appealed to the public over radio
to boil their drinking water.
The outbreak occurred barely two days after rumors spread that the
reservoir had been poisoned by the Abu Sayyaf. The group was holding
an American and a Filipino hostage on an island south of Zamboanga.
Many radio stations were flooded with calls from anxious people
reporting that their children were suffering from diarrhea. Villagers
also reported that public health centers had run out of oral
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