40,000 residents displaced as Mayon eruption looms

Mt. Mayon volcano spewed glowing red lava as it is seen in images cascading down the volcano’s slope after authorities warned against a potential hazardous eruption that could take place in just days.|Photo: Richard Esplana

MANILA — There are now 9,807 families affected by the ongoing unrest of Mayon Volcano in Albay which is equivalent to 39,902 individuals.

This was confirmed by National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad in an update Thursday.

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Of the above-mentioned figure, 8,623 families or 34,966 persons are being aided in 30 designation evacuation centers while 1,184 families or 4,936 individuals are being helped outside.

Jalad said the affected families are from 39 barangays in Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Santo Domingo and Legaspi City, all in Albay.

Also, the NDRRMC chief said that the entire province of Albay has placed itself under a state of calamity effective Tuesday.

Earlier, Albay province declared a state of calamity on Tuesday as a volcano spewed lava that reached the limits of a six-km radius no-go zone and spread ash on nearby farming villages.

Mount Mayon, a volcano in Albay province in the coconut-growing central Bicol region, has been erupting since Saturday and the number of people fleeing their homes had more than doubled on Tuesday to about 25,000, said Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council gave a smaller estimate, saying there were close to 22,000 evacuees.

Placing the province under a state of calamity will give the province access to extra funds.

“This kind of eruption, it will take about weeks, so we have to sustain the operations in the evacuation centers,” Bichara told ANC news channel. “We need to use the calamity funds.”

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it had recorded nine more tremors, four of which accompanied lava fountains, as pressure leads to lava flows and ash plumes.

It reiterated that the activity signified a possible hazardous eruption within weeks or even days from the near perfectly cone-shaped volcano.

The provincial government has also expanded its suspension of school classes to more towns around the 2,462-metre (8,077-foot) volcano, about 340 km (210 miles) southeast of Manila.

Class suspensions have allowed the government to use schools as temporary shelters. (PNA, REUTERS)



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