Lahar slide in Guinobatan due to volcanic debris, not quarrying: governor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2020 09:29 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2020 08:13 AM

View of Super Typhoon Rolly aftermath in San Francisco, Guinobatan, Albay province, Philippines where an estimated 300 homes got buried with mudflow and armor rocks from nearby Mayon Volcano, November 1, 2020. Photo courtesy of Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Zaldy Co

MANILA - The debris and boulders that erstwhile Super Typhoon Rolly swept into a community in Guinobatan town, Albay came from the top of Mayon Volcano and not from quarry stockpiles, its governor said Tuesday.

This, after the environment department suspended quarrying operations around the volcano after its initial investigation showed some of the quarry operators left their stockpiles in the middle of the rivers, which were then washed away when floodwaters flowed down from Mayon Volcano.

Governor Al Bichara, however, said there were no quarry operations within the volcano's 6-kilometer radius.

"Right after the lahar slide in Guinobatan, we did some aerial survey and actually it came from the top. The slope of Mayon within 6-kilometer radius there is no quarrying, no operations, nothing. There is an enormous supply of volcanic debris," he told ANC's Headstart.

"I doubt it. No operator will stockpile in the middle of the river. They will put it on the side because they will have to save what they’ve worked for. It’s rainy season, sayang ang efforts, trabaho nila (their efforts, hard work would have been wasted)."

Bichara said the local government issued the permits to quarry operators whom it required to get environmental compliance from the DENR.

Albay will comply with the national government's directive to suspend quarrying operations, he added.

The province needs food and housing materials as Rolly's strong winds and torrential rains left at least 6,000 residents without homes, Bichara said.

The world's strongest storm this year left at least 10 dead in the province, officials earlier said.

"Some of the houses are still submerged and they will have to stay in the evacuation for quite awhile," he said.

"What we need now are construction materials for partially damaged houses and of course food because agricultural crops are wiped out."

Albay, which still has no electricity, only has P60 million in calamity funds for the remainder of the year, Bichara said.

It cannot buy from the National Food Authority as its warehouse in the province was flooded, he added.

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