Bicol volcanoes make Ruby a ‘complex’ disaster

Rhadyz B. Barcia

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Bicol volcanoes make Ruby a ‘complex’ disaster
(UPDATED) The region's resident volcanologist says the typhoon may trigger an explosion of Mayon Volcano in Albay and push volcanic materials from Bulusan in Sorsogon, threatening low-lying areas

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) threatens to create a “complex” disaster in Bicol due to the presence of two active volcanoes in the region, the government’s resident volcanologist said Saturday, December 6.

Ed Laguerta, resident volcanologist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), warned disaster officials and responders to prepare for a possible worst-case scenario in Bicol.

Laguerta noted Mayon Volcano in Albay may explode, while rains could also push volcanic material from Bulusan in Sorsogon, threatening low-lying areas around them.

“Typhoon Ruby may trigger a sudden Mayon explosion, possible upper level collapse and simultaneous remobilization of lahar from the slopes of the country’s two most active volcanoes: Bulusan in Sorsogon and Mayon in Albay,” Laguerta said.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said that the province is bracing for flashfloods, mudflow, storm surge, and massive landslides.

“We’re ready for worst and complex scenario,” Salceda said. “We’re declaring Albay under the state of calamity for the local government units to use their calamity fund.”

“Local government units must complete evacuation before darkness. Families not evacuated should complete their family preparedness plan, no extra movement – stay home or stay in evacuation centers. No crossing of rivers, no sailing to sea, fix your homes and secure your pets and other domestic animals. Our goal is always zero casualty. Remember our policy is no rescue during the height of typhoon so as not to put the lives of the rescuers into danger,” the Albay governor reiterated.

Past 8:00 pm, local authorities received information that houses in the coastal areas of Legazpi City in Albay are being engulfed by large waves.

AFP mobilization

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Bicol reactivated the Task Force Sagip Ruby as Ruby entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

Brigadier General Felix Castro Jr, commander of the task force, said all Army units in Bicol under the 9th Infantry Division were already on the ground to lend Bicolanos a hand. He added that battalion-size rescuers, as well as responders, organized by the 9th ID have been deployed across the region.

“The 3 Infantry Brigades and Battalions prepositioned their personnel with military vehicles were dispatched for preemptive evacuation at flood-prone, landslide-prone, and mudflow areas. Army reservists of the 5th Regional Community Defense Group, ARESCOM are also alerted for possible deployment,” Castro said. –

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