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MANILA, Philippines -- Health Secretary Enrique Ona warned on Tuesday of a possible increase in the incident of diarrhea and water-borne diseases as potable water supplies become contaminated by the widespread flooding in Metro Manila and outlying regions.
He urged people to purify their water by boiling or disinfecting it, pointing out that “clear water is not necessarily safe to drink.”
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said they were ready to deploy portable water treatment systems to hospitals having problems with their potable water supplies.
The Department of Health issued the following guidelines for purifying water:
1. Water must be filtered first to trap and remove large impurities. Any clean cloth or coffee filter can be used as a sieve.
2. If the water is cloudy, it can be made to stand for half a day, after which clear water can be scooped and then filtered.
3. Boiling water kills all potential germs one may get from contaminated water. Heat water and allow it to boil for two (2) minutes then let it cool. Boiled water that has cooled can be used immediately. Stirring it or putting it from one clean container to another container several times or adding a pinch of salt or powdered juice can improve taste.
4. Water can be disinfected by adding 2 drops of 5% chlorine solution (unscented bleach) for every one (1) liter of unrefrigerated water. Allow it to stand for an hour. If a faint chlorine smell is detected after an hour, then it is safe to drink. Repeat the procedure if one cannot detect the smell after the first try. If it does not have the faint chlorine smell on the third try, then the water must be discarded since it may contain many germs. To improve taste, allow it to air some more or transfer it from one clean container to another several times.
5. Follow provided instructions if one opts to use commercial chlorine tablets for purifying water. Chlorine solutions are also available in most health centers or evacuation centers.