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DSWD readies evacuation centers, big tents as PHIVOLCS raises Alert 3 on Mayon

Mayon Volcano

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol Region is currently on high gear as the regional office prepares the possible evacuation centers after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised Alert No. 3 on Thursday (June 8) as Mayon continues to exhibit “increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption.”

In a bulletin, PHIVOLCS said the repeated collapse of the volcano’s growing summit dome has generated an increasing number and volume of rockfall events since the alert level was raised from 1 to 2 on Monday.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian had earlier ordered the prepositioning of at least 100,000 Family Food Packs (FFPs) in various warehouses in Albay province in preparation for the worse-case scenario for Mayon.

The DSWD chief also ordered the deployment of 1,500 big tents for possible evacuees coming from within the 6-kilometer danger zone designated by PHIVOLCS.

Earlier, DSWD Bicol regional director Norman Laurio held a coordination meeting with Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Officer
Miladee N. Azur to check on their available resources and other possible needs.

“They have specifically requested for big tents in case of evacuation since Legazpi barangays are located within the 8-10 kilometer danger zone,” Director Laurio reported to the DSWD secretary.

Evacuation centers and basic necessities for the projected 15,000 families living within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone are now being prepared by the Bicol regional office of DSWD.

Included in the evacuation centers being readied by DSWD Field Office V is the Mormon church in Polangui, Albay, which was used during the 2018 eruption of Mayon.

Director Laurio said simultaneous preparations are now being done, in close coordination, with DSWD Bicol to ensure that “we can respond immediately as one with all the services needed by the Albayanons.”

“We have tapped all line agencies for this Mayon Operations. We have also tapped the Province of Camarines Sur for inter-provincial operability because they have the resources needed such as water lorries, mobile clinics, and mobile kitchen. They are ready to respond,” Director Laurio reported to the DSWD Central Office.

Director Laurio said Team One Bicol would also be reactivated in coordination with the Office of Civil Defense.

Team One Bicol is composed of all line agencies that responded during the Taal Operations. This was initiated by Asst. Secretary Arnel Garcia when he was the DSWD regional director of Bicol to ensure inter-regional operability.

At the DSWD Regional Operation Center in Barangay Buraguis, Legaspi City, DSWD officials initiated meetings with the City and Municipal Action Team leaders and members for preparedness and response actions on the potential impacts of Mayon’s possible eruption.

“The emergency meeting aimed to discuss, plan and strategize necessary measures to address the potential consequences of the current volcanic unrest of Mt. Mayon. The purpose of the meeting is also to refresh and ensure preparedness and establish a response framework to effectively assist and support affected communities in the event of a volcanic eruption,” Director Laurio reported.

As of Thursday, the Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Social Welfare and Development Office(SWDO) in Albay has already been activated, according to Director Laurio.

As of presstime, an emergency meeting with the Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) has been ongoing to discuss safety protocols and preparations for the possible eruption.

The 2018 Mayon eruption lasted 2 months and 16 days, from Jan. 13, 2018 until March 29, 2018.

The total number of families affected by the 2018 eruption totaled 23,786 and were given temporary shelter in 96 evacuation centers.

Total FFPs provided by DSWD to the affected families was placed at 179,428.

Nine cities and municipalities in Albay province were affected by the 2018 eruption. These include Camalig (3,237 families in 14 barangays affected); Daraga (3,482 families in 6 barangays; Guinobatan (3,693 families in 7 barangays); Ligao (1,411 families in 5 barangays); Malilipot (1,349 families in 3 barangays); Tabaco City (1,940 families in 9 barangays); Sto. Domingo (3,932 families in 7 barangays); Legazpi City (4,603 families in 9 barangays) and Bacacay (139 families in 1 barangay).

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