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Gov’t caravan off to Albay to help Mayon evacuees

/ 05:23 AM February 28, 2018

A boy cools himself in a pail of water as he waits for his mother at an evacuation center in Legazpi City. —MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is leading disaster-response agencies in conducting a “humanitarian caravan” to help people who were forced to leave their communities in Albay province after Mayon volcano spewed ash and lava starting January.

In a send-off ceremony on Tuesday, the DSWD, together with other member-agencies of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), sent a fleet of more than 30 trucks from different government agencies and nongovernment organizations carrying 36,100 food packs and nonfood items worth P12.996 million.

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The fleet is expected to arrive in Guinobatan town on Wednesday.

A report of the DSWD-Disaster Response Operations, Management and Information Center showed that 61,886 people (16,106 families) were still staying in 57 evacuation centers in the towns of Bacacay, Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Malilipot and Santo Domingo, and in the cities of Tabaco, Ligao and Legazpi.

The DSWD is targeting the delivery of 458,250 food packs to Albay.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it could not yet lower the alert status hoisted over Mayon despite the seeming calmness shown by the volcano in recent days.

Paul Alanis, Phivolcs science and research specialist, said deflation on the lower slopes of the volcano was recorded by instruments since Feb. 20, but “bulging” was consistently observed on the upper slopes, near the crater summit.

Alanis said this indicated that “magma is still rising based on what the instruments detected and recorded.”

He said all parameters to maintain Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) remain. —Reports from Jaymee T. Gamil and Mar S. Arguelles

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TAGS: DSWD, Mayon eruption, Mayon evacuees, Mount Mayon
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