60 families flee Bulusan eruption
MANILA – Around 60 families have left their homes near Bulusan Volcano after Sunday's phreatic or steam-driven eruption, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Monday.
“As of this morning, we have received information that we have 60 families, but last night we have information that more than 100 people have been evacuated in Juban municipality,” spokesperson Mark Timbal told ANC.
He said Juban and nearby Irosin were the areas most affected by the volcanic eruption.
“The wind direction yesterday was westerly direction that’s why some of the communities in the western side of the volcano were the ones who had experienced the heavy ashfall. But so far, we don’t have any report of casualties,” he said.
Local government units have given relief packs to affected residents.
Timbal said the national government is ready to provide N95 masks to residents to protect them from sulfur inhalation.
“The current surgical masks are part of the complement of items within the stockpiles of the local government units, but if I’m not mistaken the preferred items, the advisable masks to wear are the N95 masks,” said the official.
“The national government has stocks of that kind of masks and I think these will be provided to the local government units once assistance is sought. But so far the distribution of surgical masks is sufficient on the ground,” he said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said he instructed authorities to distribute all prepositioned medical supplies such as face masks to the affected residents, "especially to those in evacuation centers."
"I already instructed the distribution of N95 masks and N88 surgical masks to protect people from the ashfall," he told ANC's Headstart.
Residents are advised to stay inside their homes and to put wet blankets on their windows that would "effectively filter out the ashfall and its toxic components."
What is a phreatic eruption?
Speaking on TeleRadyo, disaster scientist Prof. Mahar Lagmay explained how a phreatic eruption happens.
“Yung tubig kasi, merong tubig yung bulkan na ‘yan...groundwater ang tawag doon. So kayang painitin niyan 'yung mga magma. Ang magma e tunaw na bato na liquid pero nasa ilalim ng bulkan. So imbis na lumabas siya, ininit lang niya muna 'yung tubig sa loob ng bulkan tapos sumingaw. Steam ang tawag sa English, sumingaw,” he said.
(Volcanoes have ground water. Magma--molten rocks beneath a volcano-- can heat the water. But instead of magma coming out, it just heats water, creating steam.)
Lagmay said Sorsogon residents must clean their homes of the ash spewed by the volcano.
“'Yung pagka makapal 'yung abo na bumaba doon sa bubong, mabigat kasi 'yun, so magandang walisin 'yung bubong para hindi bumagsak at magiba ang bubong.”
(Thick layers of ash can weigh down on a roof, so this must be cleaned.)
He added, “Medyo acidic din yung abo, so ayaw natin masira yung ating mga gutter. ‘Pag nasa kotse yan, magandang linisin yung kotse kasi baka ma-corrode yung mga metal.”
(Ash is also a bit acidic, so we don't want our gutters destroyed. If ash falls on a car, the car must be cleaned because the metal might corrode.)