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ALBAY, Philippines – Equipped with a desalination machine, the Philippine Navy’s BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) will provide clean drinking water to internally displaced families temporarily housed in 26 evacuation centers amid Mayon Volcano’s unrest.
This is to address the scarcity of potable water in various evacuation centers in Albay.
BRP Andres Bonifacio’s commanding officer Commander Paul Hechanova said the seacraft can produce 32,000 liters of clean drinking water in 24 hours from saltwater through desalination. The desalination machine uses a reverse osmosis process, wherein salt and impurities are removed from seawater to produce drinking water.
“The desalinated water is safe to drink as it passed through the water testing of the Department of Health (DOH). It passed through the DOH standard,” Hechanova said.
Commodore Joe Anthony Orbe, chief of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon, said the Philippine Navy seacraft was patrolling the West Philippine Sea before it was sent to Bicol. It arrived on Monday morning, June 19, and will stay in Albay for days to provide assistance to the displaced families.
Aside from providing drinking water, the ship can also be used as a mobile command center of the provincial government to ensure continuous operations amid the unrest.
Orbe said BRP Andres Bonifacio has rescue capabilities that can be used in case of ashfall and other complex disaster scenarios.
In its June 19 bulletin, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said at least 20,127 persons have been displaced by Mayon Volcano’s unrest. There have been complaints of lack of water (including drinking water) and toilets in evacuation centers.
According to Orbe, another Philippine Navy ship will come to Albay in the coming days to provide assistance.
State volcanologists likened the volcano’s current state of unrest to its 2014 eruption, and said this level of activity “may persist for a few months.” – Rappler.com