- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Philippines' Mayon Volcano May Erupt Soon

Inquirer.net, News Report, Rey M. Nasol, Inquirer Southern Luzon Posted: Dec 22, 2009

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines They may have already moved out of harms way, but they still keep going back to their homes in Mayon Volcanos danger zones despite government warnings of a major eruption any day now.

The defiant evacuees check on their property, inspect their animals, do laundry, take a bath and attend to other personal needs, or gather firewood, according to Josie Perez, 41, whose family is staying at San Roque Elementary School here.

The school provides shelter to 253 families or 1,101 people from Barangay Mabinit, but it has only two functioning toilets, Perez said. Some of us would wake up as early as 1 a.m. so we would be first in the long queues, she said.

Authorities have almost reached their target of relocating 45,366 people or 9,441 families from 31 villages lying in the 6-8-kilometer-radius danger zone from Mayons crater. The residents are now occupying 26 schools, gymnasiums and other emergency centers in and around the city.

Hazardous eruption can happen today or in the next few days, said chief state volcanologist Renato Solidum, adding that an eruption also may not happen. Nobody has a 100 percent accuracy.

Mayons alert level has been raised to one step below a hazardous eruption. The only higher level is when a major eruption is in progress.

Brighter Glow

Low clouds obscured visibility of the upper and middle slopes of the smoldering 2,460-meter Mayon, towering over coconut farms and rice paddies in coastal Albay province.

But an intensified crater glow and rising ash columns were seen during a short cloud break on Monday night, said Ed Laguesta, resident volcanologist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Intermittent booming and rumbling sounds were still heard over the past 24-hour observation, with red hot lava continuously flowing down the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies. The lava front has reached about 5 km from the summit along the Bonga-Buyuan gully.

1,266 Quakes in the Last 24 Hours

Solidum said his team recorded 1,266 volcanic quakes in the last 24 hours, down from nearly 2,000 the previous day. He said that while the quakes were fewer, they were larger.

The emission of sulfur dioxidean indication of magma rising inside the volcanowas measured at 6,530 tons per day, slightly less than 7,000 tons on Sunday, but still very high, Solidum said. Normal gas emission is 500 tons per day.

Technically, Mayon Volcano is already erupting because lava has oozed out, said Mahar Lagmay, professor of geological studies at the University of the Philippines.

A bigger, explosive eruption is still possible but hard to predict, he said.

Solidum said the main problem of the eruption from a distance is the fine ash which is being generated by the collapse of rock fragments from the lava flow.

Its not very thick, just a few millimeters of ash but that is the most dangerous part because it is very fine ash, he said in a television interview.

Respiratory Problems

Health officials warned that the tiny particles could cause respiratory problems or skin diseases, and could even affect the thousands of people crammed at the evacuation centers.

Some of about 2,000 remaining farmers and their families living on the edge of the exclusion zone have already evacuated their homes three times, but keep on returning to check on their livestock and vegetable farms, Jukes Nuez, a disaster management official, said.

The probability of survival in an eruption is zero if youre in the danger area. The solution is obviously distance, Gov. Joey Salceda said.

Open Cities

Salceda said the local disaster coordinating councils had been instructed to promptly respond to the needs of the evacuees to prevent them from returning to their homes.

The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) has declared all local government units with existing evacuation centers as open cities for residents living within the danger zones.

This also means that incoming donations from private entities or international to local nongovernmental organizations will have to go directly to the local government units and they do not need to coordinate with the PDCC, Salceda said.

They must, however, coordinate with the local clusters, composed of water sanitation, psychosocial and health groups under the Albay Health and Emergency Management (Ahem) Teams that are deployed round-the-clock at the evacuation centers.

Incentive to Stay

Salceda said the provincial government had committed 5 kilos of rice daily for every family as an incentive for them not to leave the shelters as part of efforts to attain a zero-casualty goal in the province.

Oliva Dizon, 40, an evacuee from Barangay Buyuan, said her family had been receiving as much as 6.5 kilos of rice, as well as sardines, noodles, sugar, coffee and basic spices.

Another evacuee, Bernardita Perez, 70, said she and other family members no longer needed to return to their homes to get drinking water and firewood.

We stay here as the free supply of drinking water and food are now regularly coming, she said.

Now that the evacuees have been transferred to their sites, we have already put the province under a state of response, Salceda said.

This meant that donors can come in to their choice of recipient areas because the cluster approach had been put in place.

The United Nations on Tuesday prepositioned help and stockpiles of supplies for the evacuees.

In a statement posted on its website, the United Nations said that its humanitarian officials were working with Philippine authorities to prepare contingency measures and protect the evacuees.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it had helped carry out an assessment last month in Albay and was working with officials from the National Disaster Coordinating Council and the regional government.

The U.N. Childrens Fund and the World Food Program are also working with local officials to provide targeted assistance to those in need once the volcano erupts.

With reports from Cynthia D. Balana and Alcuin Papa in Manila, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

International Affairs