Pets, livestock around Mayon to be evacuated too

Rhadyz B. Barcia

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Pets, livestock around Mayon to be evacuated too
After evacuating tens of thousands of people, soldiers and cops will also move out livestock and pets around the restive Mayon volcano to keep their owners from returning to danger zones

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Albay’s zero-casualty goal during disasters applies to animals, too.

After evacuating tens of thousands of people, soldiers and cops will also move out livestock and pets around the restive Mayon volcano.

Task Force Mayon – composed of personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) – will be evacuating at least 19,031 livestock and pets from the danger zone, following the directive of Albay Governor Joey Salceda.

This is to ensure the safety of the animals from volcanic ashfall should Mayon volcano erupt. It would also be an added service for the evacuees, so that they would no longer see the need to return to their homes while the alert on Mayon is still up just to retrieve their animals.

The evacuation inside the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone will take place on Monday, September 22, said Dr Antonio T. Basanta, the province’s chief veterinarian. It will be supervised by officials from the Bureau of Animal Industry and international organizations.

“We’re asking 5,809 farmers in the municipalities of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo, Malilipot and the 3 cities of Ligao, Legazpi and Tabaco to bring down their cattle, carabao, goat, sheep, swine, and dogs to identified holding centers in their respective towns, so we could transport their livestock to animal shelters,” Basanta said.

Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), said that the provincial government will spend at least P20 million to safeguard the lives of livestock and pets for a period of 90 days.

Basanta said that the provincial government will conduct massive vaccination, de-worming, as well as vitamins for livestock and pets, to prevent possible spread of diseases. He added that livestock and cattle are very sensitive, and are thus prone to diseases when moved out to strange or unfamiliar areas.

For two days, government forces have evacuated at least 45,599 people living in the 6-to-8-kilometer extended danger zone, after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) hoisted the alert level of Mayon volcano from Level 2 to Level 3 due to the volcano’s heightened unrest.

Volcano activity

Phivolcs is continuously monitoring the abnormal activity of Mount Mayon.

The volcano’s seismic network recorded 22 volcanic earthquakes and 70 rockfall events in the past 24 hours.

Rain clouds covered the summit, preventing visual observation. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 757 tons per day on 17 September, although SO2 emission rates peaked at 2,360 tons per day on September 6.

Ground deformation data showed inflationary changes in the edifice from February based on precise leveling surveys done on the third week of August, and edifice inflation from January 2012 baselines based on continuous tilt measurement.

“All the above data indicate that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma. This means that magma is at the crater, and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks,” said Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs’ resident volcanologist chief in Bicol.

Mayon Volcano’s alert status remains at Alert Level 3. Phivolcs recommended that the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeastern flank be declared as “no man’s land” due to the danger of rock falls, landslides and sudden explosions, or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

No lahar in Guinobatan

As to the reported lahar flow on Friday, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum clarified that there was no occurrence of it at Barangay Maipon in Guinobatan town.

“The report that there was lahar at Maipon, Guinobatan, was not really lahar. Our staff went to the area. Essentially, [these are] flood waters with minor sediments, not really lahar, which should have significant amounts of sediments,” Dir. Solidum said.

Based on the record of the APSEMO monitoring division, the precipitation that took place in Albay was only 0.5 millimeters (mm) from 1 to 2 am, 1.2 mm from 2 to 5 am, and 0 mm from 5 to 8 am.

“It would take at least 40 mm per hour of precipitation for 3 hours to mobilize the lahar deposits to cause a lahar rampage. Anyway, most of the people from Maipon and other barangays in that area were already relocated. Those who were not relocated were all evacuated now,” Salceda said.

At least 2,296 people were evacuated from barangays Maipon to Muladbucad Grande. –

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