28 children faint due to heat in fiesta activity

Photo Courtesy of Maestro Gala PH

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

At least 28 children in San Dionisio in the northern town of Iloilo, fainted and showed symptoms of heat exhaustion during the opening program of its municipal religious fiesta on Monday morning, May 1.

Reagan Belita, head of the Municipal Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office, told Daily Guardian that the combination of extreme weather and a large crowd, estimated at over 1,000 people, likely contributed to the incidents by causing shortness of breath.

Aside from the scorching hot weather, Belita said the other victims may have not eaten breakfast.

“We have an emergency response vehicle stationed and our quick response teams are on standby since it is the opening of the fiesta celebration,” he said.

Belita said some patients were only given oral rehydration salts and have recovered immediately, while others needed to be given oxygen.

Due to a shortage of oxygen and hospital beds at the rural health unit, 20 individuals had to be transferred to Sara District Hospital.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecasted a heat index ranging from 43 to 45 degrees Celsius over Iloilo.

The heat index, which falls under the danger level, can lead to heat cramps and heat exhaustion, with heat stroke becoming probable with prolonged exposure to the scorching heat.

Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. earlier announced plans to implement adjustments to various activities in the province due to the scorching weather, including potential limitations on outdoor events like religious fiesta parades and groundbreaking ceremonies.

The municipal religious fiesta of San Dionisio will run from May 1 to 5.

The opening program included activities such as street dance and mass dance competitions, a trade fair, and food festival. The succeeding days of the celebration will feature activities including field demonstrations by students, and a fun run, among others.

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