LAUREL - A total of 10 children have been isolated in evacuation centers in this town in Batangas after getting sick supposedly due to the effects of volcanic smog, a local government official said on Saturday.
Laurel Vice Mayor Rachelle Ogalinola said the children, who have flu and fever, are currently staying at the Ticub Elementary School evacuation center. Their condition is not severe.
Results of their antigen testing came out negative for COVID-19, but they were isolated still, according to Ogalinola.
She also pointed out that these children have been feeling these symptoms even before they were evacuated last Thursday.
Health personnel, meanwhile, are monitoring and observing all evacuees, she added.
The volcanic smog or vog is a kind of air pollution due to volcanic gas, Phivolcs said in an advisory earlier this week. This is due to Taal's continued emission of high sulfur dioxide levels.
"It consists of fine droplets containing volcanic gas such as [sulfur dioxide] which is acidic and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat and respiratory tract in severities depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure," Phivolcs noted.
State seismologists also urged residents, most especially those staying around Taal Lake, to wear N-95 masks, stay in their homes, and close their windows and doors to block the pollution.
The Taal Volcano’s alert status was raised to Level 3 on Thursday due to a short-lived phreatomagmatic explosion, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate.
Some evacuees at Ticub were also transferred to a nearby bigger evacuation center so physical distancing can be better observed.
Earlier, the Department of Health went to the municipal hall of Laurel to deliver boxes of vitamins, medicines and face masks, which will be distributed to evacuation sites.
They will also be sending hygiene kits and additional modular tents within the day.
Health officials will visit the evacuation sites in the town to check if minimum health protocols are strictly observed.
The Taal Volcano continued to emit white smoke as seen from the town. This is because of the gas upwelling, according to the Taal Volcano Observatory.
The volcano plume, on the other hand, reached as high as 2,100 meters at 5 a.m.
In its 24-hour monitoring, Phivolcs said it reported 3 short phreatomagmatic explosions, 48 volcanic earthquakes, and emission of sulfur dioxide measured at 10,254 tons.