Nepal quake victims get clean drinking water, thanks to MMDA team

A week after they were sent to Nepal to provide assistance to victims of the 7.9-magnitude quake, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) seven-man rescue team has provided safe drinking water for thousands of affected residents in the country through their solar-powered water filtering system.

In his Facebook page, the group’s leader and MMDA Flood Control Information Center head Mon Santiago said that since their arrival on May 3, they have purified 1,400 liters of water for Ramechhap District Hospital in a mountain and farming community east of Kathmandu.

Upon his team’s arrival at the district, Santiago said they immediately met with the district health administrator together with other medical volunteers from Nepal and discussed how they could increase the availability of water for remaining medical facilities in the area.

After assessing the damage in Ramechhap, the team then proceeded to the remote village of Dadhuwa, which was six hours away.

“The Philippine-MMDA Humanitarian Assistance Team has moved to Dadhuwa, Ramechhap, to give medical assistance to people in the village as part of the task allocated by Nepal’s Ministry of Health. We joined the volunteer doctors from Kathmandu,” Santiago said in a post.

In Dadhuwa, two members of the MMDA team also fixed water reservoirs after village elders asked for help. At the same time, they extended medical assistance to more than 300 patients, some of whom had walked for two hours from nearby villages just to get to the team’s station at Sukree National High School.

“The most that the Philippine-MMDA Humanitarian Assistance Team can do is give those who were left behind thermal blankets to protect them from the remaining rain after the heavy thunderstorm. Still a long walk back home and it’s getting dark,” said Santiago in a post which showed photos of residents headed back to their houses after receiving thermal blankets and availing of the team’s medical services.

MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino earlier said that the MMDA rescue and retrieval team was sent to Nepal to help the country in rescue and recovery efforts.

“This contingent will likewise conduct post-earthquake studies to aid Metro Manila in case an earthquake of similar magnitude occurs,” Tolentino added.

Because of the team’s experience in responding to disasters like this, Tolentino said they would be more prepared to fine-tune Oplan Metro Yakal, the MMDA’s earthquake response plan in preparation for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

“We are optimistic that our personnel can provide the needed expertise and assistance that Nepal badly needs. They are helping on behalf of the entire government of the Republic of the Philippines,” the MMDA chair added.

The team is expected to stay in Nepal until its assistance is needed, Tolentino said.