Mayon victims sent home to prevent outbreaks in evacuation camps

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines –  The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol sent home Mayon evacuees in the 9-km extended danger zone to lessen the possibility of an outbreak of sickness occurring in the evacuation camps here.

Claudio L. Yucot, OCD regional director, directed the decampment of evacuees inside the evacuation centers residing outside the 8-km extended danger zone based on protocols and alerts from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

“We are ordering the decampment of Mayon evacuees outside the 8-km permanent danger zone to return to their residences because we don’t want them to expose them to diseases. But we will continue to monitor them even after the decampment,” Yucot said.

Yucot added the decampment of Mayon evacuees living in 9-kilometer extended danger zone (EDZ) is based on Phivolcs's bulletin guidelines.

“All Mayon evacuees outside the 8-kilometer (danger zone) will be sent home tomorrow but in the event that alert level 5 will be raised we will evacuate them,” Yucot said in a press briefing at the hall of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) here.

Cedric Daep, Apsemo chief, said that the towns of Daraga and Camalig and the two cities of Ligao and Legazpi need to decamp its evacuees outside the 8-kilometer danger zone because there is no danger on lahar and pyroclastic flow.

Daep added those residents living in the 6-kilometer to 8-kilometer danger zone in the towns of Camalig and Daraga and cities of Legazpi and Ligao must stay put in the temporary evacuation shelters for safety.

“The 7-kilometer to 8-kilometer buffer zone is enough for safety of the people. But we’re reiterating for farmers not to venture within the “no man’s land”,” Daep said.   

Currently, there are 21,950 families or 84,415 individuals staying in evacuation shelters, causing illnesses to spread. 

Children and the elderly are vulnerable to coughs and colds, fever, hypertension, loose bowel movements, and skin diseases.

Alert level 4 remains in effect over Mayon volcano. The public is strongly advised to stay away from the 8-kilometer-radius danger zone and to be vigilant against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden stream flows along channels draining the edifice. – Rappler.com