Magma rising as Mayon lull is over

LEGAZPI CITY - Mayon Volcano has again shown magma movement after a week of slumber, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported on Friday.

Paul Karson Alanis, science research specialist of Phivolcs, said volcanologists recorded nine volcanic quakes and six rockfall events in the last 24 hours, compared to only one rockfall event recorded the previous day.

There has been a lull in the volcano's activity since Sept. 21 but the results of Phivolcs' latest monitoring have again shown signs of magma movement.

Magma is moving up and an eruption is possible "within weeks," Alanis said in a briefing here on Friday.

Alanis said the volcano appeared to be getting ready for an eruption, as magma was inching closer to the crater.

Alert Level 3 was raised over Mount Mayon on Sept. 15, indicating heightened restiveness that could lead to eruption.

'State of depletion'

Based on the latest data of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 54,677 individuals have been evacuated since Sept. 15 after Gov. Joey Salceda ordered the forced evacuation of residents within a 6-kilometer radius permanent danger zone around the volcano.

Salceda said more than 17,000 families from 26 villages would also be evacuated in Sto. Domingo, Daraga and Camalig towns, and in Legazpi City should Phivolcs raise the alert level to 4.

These towns are inside an expanded danger zone that covers 6-8 km around Mayon and are near the volcano's so-called southeast quadrant, or the side of the crater that is open and through which lava would flow and other volcanic materials would be spewed out in case of an eruption.

Salceda said the province was running out of funds to feed evacuees and he would declare a "state of depletion" in Albay by Saturday.

"We have supply of rice for 31 days but nonrice items, [items for] health care and other essential lifeline [items] like water and other primary needs will not be served if we [do not] have enough funds for these," he said.

Tents

He said the remaining P19-million quick response fund of the province was not enough to sustain the needs of evacuees.

"We are giving them rice everyday for them not to return to their houses. We want them not just safe but happy," he added.

Based on the governor's projection, if the evacuees would stay for 94 days in the shelters, the government would need P311 million for food and other basic needs.

Salceda said that out of 19,931 animals (pig, cattle, goat and chicken) owned by the evacuees, 782 had been slaughtered and sold to fund food supply for some evacuees. At least 5,200 domestic animals are still in danger zones.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is now acquiring more aid materials for Albay, said Salceda.

He also appealed for donations of at least 875 classroom tents, 1,025 blackboards, 54,904 armchairs and 792 toilets for the evacuees.

Classes in 54 public schools that had been converted into evacuation centers have resumed in tents donated by the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef).

Unicef representative Ferdie Balmaceda on Friday said they would deliver more tents and tarpaulins that could be used as temporary classrooms.

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