State of calamity in cities, towns around Mayon

KD Suarez

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State of calamity in cities, towns around Mayon
(UPDATED) Albay Governor Jose Salceda orders mandatory evacuation for people living within the danger zone around Mayon Volcano

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – A state of calamity has been declared in areas surrounding Mayon Volcano, after the volcano showed signs of a potential eruption in the coming days.

The state of calamity, announced by Albay Governor Jose Salceda on Tuesday, September 16, covers 52 barangays the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco, and Ligao; and the towns of Santo Domingo, Malilipot, Guinobatan, Camalig, and Daraga.

The declaration of a state of calamity helps facilitate release of emergency funds for use in the emergency.

Late Monday, September 15, the alert level for Mayon was raised to Alert Level 3 or “Critical” by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), after “increasing abnormalities” were observed in the volcano.

Mandatory evacuation for all residents within the permanent danger zone (PDZ), as well as those in the extended danger zone (EDZ), is now ongoing, Salceda told Rappler in a phone interview. 

The PDZ is an area that extends 6 kilometers from Mayon, while the EDZ covers areas 6-8 kilometers from the volcano.

A “no human activity” order will also be enforced within the PDZ.

The evacuation order covers 10,555 families, Salceda said.

At least one town, Guinobatan, implemented forced evacuations of affected residents overnight.

Salceda, during a meeting of provincial and regional disaster officials Tuesday, also said that classes will be suspended in schools that will be used as evacuation centers.

Local Department of Education (DepEd) officials have also been instructed to “institute measures to minimize disruption of learning” in affected areas, Salceda said in a post on his Facebook page.

Fifty military vehicles have been readied for the evacuation operations, according to Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The army has also dispatched two UH-1H helicopters to conduct an aerial survey around the volcano.

Supplies for 2 weeks

Salceda said the provincial government has enough supplies of rice and water for the evacuees that will last for at least two weeks. The province is also in charge of health services for the evacuees.

The province is also ready to receive relief supplies for the evacuees.

Salceda also said the provincial government has set up an operations center in the capital Legazpi, to coordinate all disaster-related efforts.

Phivolcs observed 39 rockfall events from 5 am to 8 pm on Monday, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.

“A hazardous eruption is possible within weeks,” Phivolcs director Renato Solidum told Agence France-Presse in a text message.

Phivolcs previously raised Alert Level 2 for Mayon on August 15. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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