Chemical Fumes Sicken 31 in Philippines

Chemical Fumes Sicken Dozens, Force Thousands to Evacuate in Philippines

By Teresa Cerojano – MANILA, Philippines Nov 28, 2006 (AP)— Noxious fumes from chemical waste dumped into a Philippine creek forced thousands to flee their homes and sickened dozens Tuesday, officials said.

Residents of the town of Marilao, many covering their noses with handkerchiefs, left their homes before dawn complaining of dizziness and vomiting caused by the odor, the Office of Civil Defense said.

The office said 16 children and 15 adults were hospitalized and 1,000 people were evacuated to a school.

The civil defense headquarters in Manila said 3,000 residents of the village of Santa Rosa Uno near the Marilao River also fled to village and municipal halls after being roused by the acrid smell.

Several infants and toddlers were rushed to a nearby hospital, where their mothers told doctors the children had difficulty breathing and some vomited.

“I feel weak. It smelled awful,” resident Merlyn Aguilar said from her hospital bed. “My nape hurt, my chest hurt, then I just suddenly collapsed.”

One Marilao resident, Carlos Clemente, told ABS-CBN television he had seen a truck dumping a liquid into a creek near the river, then rushing away.

The driver of the tanker truck and his two assistants were arrested in the nearby town of Santa Maria. The three men and the truck’s owner will be charged with violating laws on hazardous wastes, Police Chief Inspector Lalaine Amparo said.

Amparo said the men told police they loaded the chemical waste from a plastic factory and dumped the cargo in Marilao, an agricultural and industrial town 15 miles north of Manila.


Bureau of Fire Protection personnel in protective suits enter the San Isidro High School in Manila to conduct a clean up operation of a contaminated science room. A wooden cabinet storing containers of about 30 assorted laboratory chemicals broke from the wall and spilled toxic powder and liquid on the floor of the abandoned room. The mixture of chemicals released toxic fumes sending 10 teachers and staff to hospital after bouts of vomiting and skin rashes. Classes have been suspended as firemen clean up the area while nearby residents have been evacuated.(AFP/Romeo Gacad)


Firemen and personnel from the Emergency Research Center, in protective suits, clean up the contaminated science room at San Isidro High School in Makati suburban Manila.(AFP/Louie Domingo)


Residents line up for treatment at an evacuation center after inhaling an unknown but noxious chemical that spilled on a river in Marilao town, Bulacan province 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Manila, Philippines Tuesday Nov. 28, 2006. At least 31 residents were hospitalized and more than 3,000 others fled their homes after complaining of dizziness and vomiting following the foul odor emitted by the chemical-laced river. It was the second chemical spill in metropolitan Manila in the last three days.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


Volunteers rush a woman to a hospital after she inhaled an unknown noxious chemical that spilled on a river in Marilao, an agricultural and industrial town 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Manila, Philippines, Tuesday Nov. 28, 2006. At least 20 residents were hospitalized and more than 3,000 others fled their homes after complaining of dizziness and vomiting due to the odor coming from the chemical-laced river, the Office of Civil Defense said in a report. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


Residents wear surgical masks to avoid the stench of an unknown chemical that spilled on a river, seen at right, in Marilao, an agricultural and industrial town 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Manila, Philippines, Tuesday Nov. 28, 2006. At least 20 residents were hospitalized and more than 3,000 others fled their homes after complaining of dizziness and vomiting due to the odor coming from the chemical-laced river, the Office of Civil Defense said in a report. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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