Philippine communities brace for hazardous volcanic eruption

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 Emergency Response

More than 20,000 people in Bicol region, south of Manila in the Philippines, have evacuated as the lava from Mayon Volcano continues to flow.

As of January 16, a total of 5,318 families or 21,823 individuals have been affected in six towns in the province of Albay and are now staying in 18 evacuation centers, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Mount Mayon is expected to erupt within weeks or even days as Alert Level 3 is still in effect over the volcano. It is the most active volcano in the Philippines, erupting over 51 times in the past 400 years.

Residents were advised to refrain from entering the six kilometer-radius permanent danger zone; and seven-kilometer extended danger zone on the southern flanks of the volcano due to the danger of rock falls, landslides, and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

International humanitarian organization CARE has activated its emergency response team with local partners Tarabang sa Bicol Inc. (TABI) and Citizens’ Disaster Response Center.

CARE is currently monitoring the situation with our local partners on the ground. We are ready to provide relief assistance if needed,” said David Gazashvili, CARE Philippines’ Country Director.

“Based on our last experience responding to Mt. Mayon’s eruption, the people had to stay in evacuation centers for more than three months while waiting for their communities to be declared safe to return to. Prolonged evacuation usually leads to food supply shortage, illnesses shared in congested camps, disruption of classes and income generation, and need for hygiene materials especially for women and children,” said Maricris Bines, Executive Director of TABI.

CARE has worked in the Philippines since 1949, providing emergency relief when disaster strikes and helping communities prepare for disasters. CARE specializes in providing life-saving assistance and has more than seven decades of experience helping people recover from disasters.

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