Evacuees in Cotabato hospitalized due to food poisoning

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Kidapawan City (CNN Philippines, November 5) — Evacuees from quake-hit Cotabato were rushed to the hospital on Monday night due to suspected food poisoning from donated packed meals.

Acting Vice Governor Shirlyn Macasarte said 30 evacuees were brought to hospitals after vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. The evacuees from Malabuan and Patulangon evacuation centers in Barangay Malasila in Makilala ate packed foods given to them.

Bienvenida Lagumbay, 71, said she vomited and experienced diarrhea after eating rice with dried fish and pork wrapped in banana leaf. She said four other people in the evacuation center ate the food and all of them experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

Some of the patients were allowed to go home after their health condition improved.

Distribution of hot meals or packed foods to quake-affected residents is now prohibited after the incident. Macasarte said despite their order to ban donated hot meals in evacuation centers to avoid food poisoning, the public can still help in other ways.

Macasarte said she instructed her staff to check on the patients' conditions, including the hospital bills of those admitted in private hospitals.

Thousands of families are staying in different evacuation centers across Mindanao after a series of destructive earthquakes hit the region last week.

CNN Philippines stringer Abner Francisco contributed to this report.