MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is putting together a recovery plan that can be immediately implemented following the expected eruption of the Mayon volcano, “if and when it does come to pass.”
“We continue to coordinate with all units involved in providing assistance to communities affected by Mayon’s impending eruption… Thousands are already affected and their lives will not be able to return to normal for some time – we need to help them cope with the situation,” DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco said.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has retained the Alert Level 3 on the Mayon volcano as of posting. This means that the volcano was still in a relatively high level of unrest and hazardous eruption remained a possibility within weeks or even days.
On Friday, January 19, lava and pyroclastic flow from the volcano moved 3 kilometers from the crater, halfway to a “no man’s land” area where a handful of farmers till the land for vegetable farming.
Based on the latest report posted by DSWD, the number of affected families has now reached 10,405 families — equivalent to 40,565 individuals — from 39 barangays in 7 municipalities in Albay.
Of this number, 6,425 families or 24,337 persons are staying at 27 evacuation centers located around the province. On the other hand, 734 families or 3,119 persons are staying with their relatives and friends.
On Saturday, Governor Al Francis Bichara appealed for “augmentation support” from the national government to hasten the delivery of basic needs for those who evacuated due to Mayon. Bichara also slammed the slow release of money from their Quick Response Fund (QRF) which he described instead as a “delayed response fund.”
In any case, the DSWD field office said it is ready to provide additional relief assistance to the affected towns.
“We still have available stockpiles worth P11.4 million. We also have standby funds, which can be utilized at any given time to provide for the needs of our affected families and population in the mentioned 8 local government units in the province of Albay,” DSWD Assistant Regional Director Arwin Razo said during a press briefing with representatives from the national government and LGUs of Albay at the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group 5 in Legazpi City.
To help the provincial government respond to the needs of the evacuees and other affected residents, the DSWD field office earlier sent a total of of 5,500 family food packs (FFPs) and 11,000 malongs for distribution to evacuees, while 500 food packs and 1,000 malongs were delivered to Legazpi City.
On Friday morning, 3 trucks carrying 3,400 food packs from the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City arrived in Albay.
The DSWD Central Office is also expected to send an additional 26,600 FFPs to Bicol in the coming days to help the field office respond to relief assistance requests from the affected cities and municipalities. – Rappler.com
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