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Latest Mayon eruption sends 56,000 people to shelters

Mayor Noel Rosal (in white shirt) supervises the evacuation of over 11,000 persons from the recently-declared eight kilometre danger zone in the southern flank of Mayon Volcano. (Bicol Times)

LEGAZPI CITY, January 24, 2018–As Mayon Volcano continued to spew rocks and lava, 56,217 residents from the declared eight-kilometer danger zones are now housed in government-run shelters.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported a short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption generating a dense five- kilometer talleruption column.

In a statement released this morning, PHIVOLCS said the eruption generated pyroclastic density currents or pyroclastic flows on gullies or channels along Miisi, Bonga, Buyuan, Basuc, San Andres, Buang, Anoling and other minor rivers within four kilometers of the summit “well within the Permanent Danger Zone.”

Volcanic ash was blown west and fell on the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig, Oas, Polangui in Albay Province and Iriga City in Camarines Sur. A minor degassing event took place before 6:00 P.M., Monday which generated a short and 500-meter high ash plume.

There were five intense but intermittent lava fountaining from the summit which lasted three to 30 minutes. Lava fountaining reached 500 to 700 meters and generated ash plumes that reached 2.5 kilometers to three kilometers from the crater. Lava flows were monitored on the Miisi and Bonga gullies and sprayed near-vent and incandescent rock fall on the summit area.

Two explosion-type earthquake which resulted into vertical column eruptions and some 15 tremor events and 35 rockfall events.

In Legazpi City, Mayor Noel Rosal personally supervised the evacuation of 3,154 families or 11,924 persons yesterday afternoon as soon as PHIVOLCS officials declared Alert Level No. 4 and increased the danger zone to eight kilometers from the crater.

Mayor Rosal earlier ordered the return of the evacuees as Science and Technology Undersecretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr, clarified the danger zone falls within the six-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone and extended danger zone of seven kilometers on the southern flank of the 2,462-meter volcano.

Today, the evacuees from Legazpi City’s six villages are housed in seven evacuation centers.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) said what they spend for the thousands of evacuees in government-run shelters come from their savings.

“We hope the national government would release our Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share so we can fund our needs,” Dr. Daep said in a telephone interview. He, however, added this is expected because it is still January, opening of the fiscal year.

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara earlier appealed to the Manila-based national government to release funds for them to use subject to liquidation.

Today, there are 14,241 families or 56,217 persons from 46 villages are housed in 46 evacuation centers across the province. (Melo M. Acuna, Bicol Times)

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