Hundreds flee homes due to Bulusan eruption, officials say

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 06 2022 05:02 PM | Updated as of Jun 06 2022 07:43 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) — Hundreds of people have evacuated from their homes following Sunday's steam-driven eruption of the Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon province, local officials said Monday.

Gov. Francis "Chiz" Escudero told ANC around noontime that 216 individuals, of whom almost all were from Barangay Puting Sapa in Juban town, were evacuated due to the ashfall that affected their communities. 

In an interview more than five hours later, Susan Anpin, Juban's social welfare officer said the number of evacuees has climbed to 374 people, or 107 families.

"(Mula sa) isang barangay lang naman po ang evacuees namin. Taga-Barangay Puting Sapa... Lahat po ito nasa evacuation center, kasi malaki naman po yung Juban Evacuation Center," Anpin told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

She said that if more people will be evacuated from their homes, the Juban Gymnasium may be used as their temporary shelter.

Escudero, meanwhile, noted that residents in other areas hit by the ashfall, including Irosin town, did not have to be evacuated.

He said that they will be sending the evacuees home if Bulusan does not erupt within the next 2 to 3 days.

This decision, he said, is based on their track record and experience, particularly the previous eruption of the volcano in 2017.

"Gusto na rin namang umuwi ng aming mga kababayan para magsimula na rin silang magkumpuni ng kanilang mga tahanan," Escudero said.

(Our fellowmen also want to go home so they can start repairing their homes.)

"Nag-face-to-face [classes] na kami dito so apektado rin iyong mga bata. Of the 216 individuals that we evacuated, majority of them are children under the age of 18," he added.

(We are also having face-to-face classes here so the children are affected.)

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported earlier in the day that around 60 families or more than a hundred individuals fled their homes following the eruption. 

In an advisory issued noontime, it said the affected population include 50 families or 180 individuals from Barangay Puting Sapa who were evacuated, of whom most are from the vulnerable sector such as "children, pregnant women and senior citizens."

NDRRMC also reported that classes in three Juban schools were suspended: Puting Sapa Elementary School, Sangkayon Elementary School and Añog Elementary School.

No one was reported killed or injured after the eruption, the council noted.

The NDRRMC assured that LGUs have enough supplies to sustain their relief operations, but added that the national government and regional disaster council are also ready to provide affected residents food, drinking water and hygiene items.

Residents were advised to stay indoors and wear face masks to avoid inhaling fine ash spewed by the volcano.

“Dahil tumahimik si Bulusan, we’re hoping that in a few days, a lot of the evacuated populations can go back home and resume their normal lives, but remain vigilant against any escalation of the volcano,” NDRRMC's Mark Timbal said.

Meanwhile, relief goods from the Office of the Vice President Leni Robredo are now on their way to Sorsogon.

Robredo said in an Instagram post that the first batch of goods, coursed through her office's flagship program Angat Buhay, were loaded into a truck Sunday evening. 

— with reports from Bianca Dava and Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

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