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Senators urge Taal residents to evacuate, follow safety tips

/ 09:37 PM January 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Monday called on residents in high-risk areas to immediately evacuate to safer areas and to follow safety instructions issued by the government following the eruption of Taal Volcano.

“Those who are living in the danger areas should evacuate to safer grounds immediately. Bring animals and livestock to designated evacuation areas. Follow any evacuation orders issued by authorities and put your emergency plan into action,” Sen. Richard Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said in a statement.

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“It is also very important to monitor what is happening by listening to a local station on a portable, battery-operated radio or television for updated emergency information and instructions,” he added.

Gordon also advised residents in affected areas to keeping as much of one’s skin covered as possible.

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He also gave the public the following safety tips:

  • wear dust masks designated to protect lung irritation from small particles
  • wear goggles to protect the eyes
  • wear eyeglasses not contact lenses
  • close all windows and doors to keep volcanic ash from entering
  • prepare a family lifeline kit for possible evacuation

“These safety reminders also go for people living in areas that may not be directly in the danger zones but are affected by the volcanic activity, such as in Metro Manila where there have been reported ash falls,” he said.

He also gave the Red Cross numbers

  • Hotline: 143, PRC National Headquarters
  • 87902300

Sen. Sonny Angara also urged the public to take heed of the directives coming from the national government agencies, particularly from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the Department of Health (DOH), and local government units.

Angara noted that ashfall brought about the phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano on Sunday had affected residents in Laguna, Cavite, Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.

“Volcanic ash is dangerous to our health, especially for those with lung disease. It’s very fine and it’s wind-borne and it’s not easily visible,” he said in Filipino.

“If possible, clean your surroundings, especially your roof in case it already has thick volcanic ash as it could collapse,” he added.

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He then underscored the need for an agency dedicated to handling all of the challenges brought about by natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons.

Angara cited Senate Bill No. 331, which proposes for the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience to serve as the country’s lead agency on all matters related to disasters and climate change.

“During times of disaster, the Department of Disaster Resilience will be tasked to undertake the necessary measures to ensure the protection of the people, including preemptive and forced evacuations,” he said.

“It is also mandated to develop and implement programs on disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building better,” he added.

For her part, Sen. Imee Marcos called for organized and systematic coordination between government agencies and private organizations during relief and evacuation efforts.

“Besides radio, television, and newspapers, let’s make frequent use of social media to communicate so we could get help quickly to those affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano,” she said in  Filipino.

She stressed, however, the importance of using social media responsibly to avoid victimizing the public with fake news.

She then reminded the public to stay calm but vigilant and to heed to safety reminders issued by authorities and other concerned government agencies through social media.

“But let’s make sure that the web pages and social media accounts that we visit are responsible and not spreading fake news,” she said.

On Sunday, Taal spewed a kilometer-high column of ash, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents in affected areas.

Taal Volcano is currently on Alert Level 4, which means that “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days,” according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Ashfall from Taal, the country’s second most active volcano after Mount Mayon, affected nearby provinces and Metro Manila.

/atm

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TAGS: ashfall, Imee Marcos, Richard Gordon, Sonny Angara, Taal Volcano eruption
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