Albay under state of calamity amid threat of Mayon's hazardous eruption


Posted at Jan 16 2018 05:31 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2018 08:18 PM

Authorities have raised Alert Level 3 at the Mayon Volcano, where lava was seen flowing downslope Monday night. Photo by Richard Esplana

MANILA (UPDATE) - Albay has been placed under a state of calamity amid the threat of the Mayon Volcano's hazardous eruption, which has prompted thousands of residents to evacuate. 

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara said the declaration was necessary so that the province's calamity funds could be used to support operations at evacuation centers.

"In the first place, we have about 25,000 evacuees so we need to support the operations and we need to feed the evacuees, so we need to use the calamity fund," he said.

"Our people here are quite resilient. They’re all familiar with the protocol, system. Even before, they have prepared for this."

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Bichara appealed to both the public and private sectors for aid.

"We cannot sustain it for so long because our resources are limited so we’ll be needing the support of the national government, DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), Department of Health, Office of Civil Defense," he said.

"We appeal to the President to support us and, if there is some, assistance from the private sector, we would gladly appreciate it."

DSWD Region 5 Director Arnel Garcia said the agency has provided P5.4 million worth of assistance to 25,000 evacuees housed in 23 evacuation centers.

"We are providing family food packs, and this is equal to two days for a family of 5. The local government is catering to families outside the evacuation centers, most are staying with relatives," Garcia told ANC.

"We have requested [from DSWD officer-in-charge Emmanuel Leyco] another 30,000 food packs to be delivered," he said.

Garcia gave the assurance that the agency is ready to provide aid to evacuees for an extended period of time.

"We are ready... Actually, in the record of Phivolcs, the longest is 4 months. And the last time, we were able to do it for 3 months. Given this experience, we are all ready, we have our stockpile ready, we have purchased additional stockpile."

On Monday night, lava was seen slowly flowing out of the Mayon Volcano's crater along with a 1,000-meter ash plume rising into the sky, Phivolcs said.

Mayon is under Alert Level 3, which means the volcano has an "increased tendency towards hazardous eruption," Phivolcs research specialist Paul Alanis earlier told ABS-CBN News. 

Mayon, known for its near perfect cone, last erupted in 2014. Its most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava flows buried a town and killed 1,200 people.