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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Marcos assures aid as Canlaon City declares state of calamity

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday vowed continued government assistance to residents affected by the Kanlaon Volcano eruption, as a state of calamity was declared by the Canlaon City government.

In a video message, the President said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are actively managing the situation and providing support.

Approximately 170 families or 796 individuals have been affected.

“We have distributed sleeping kits in La Castellana and there are already 13,000 family food packs prepositioned in Negros Island with an additional 40,000 food packs and other non-food items on the way,” the President said.

“Our air assets are also on standby for a quicker response. I assure you that our government is ready and continuously providing support until everyone safely returns to their homes,” he added.

Marcos further urged residents near the affected area to stay out of the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone and follow guidelines set by local authorities.

Meanwhile, the Canlaon City Council has officially declared a state of calamity across the entire city.

This announcement, posted via Facebook by City Councilor Angel Amador-Soliva, came in the heels of a special session where the council unanimously approved the “Resolution for the Declaration of the State of Calamity Due to Volcanic Eruption.” This recommendation was put forth by the Canlaon Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

The eruption has affected a significant number of individuals, totaling 23,622 across several barangays, including Masulog, Pula, Linuthangan, Malaiba, and Lumapao, due to the release of volcanic ash.

Canlaon City Mayor Jose Cardenas highlighted the immediate need for hygiene kits for evacuees currently housed in two evacuation centers across five barangays.

As for provisions, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian assured that there are ample family food packs ready for distribution to the affected population.

Secretary Gatchalian said there are currently 10,000 relief packs available, which will be allocated to both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.

The President has instructed the DSWD to coordinate closely with local officials in Canlaon City.

“We’ve been in constant communication with the governor, congressmen, as well as mayors in both Negros Occidental and Oriental since last night,” Secretary Gatchalian emphasized.

As of the latest update, Mt. Kanlaon has been placed under alert level II by PHIVOLCS, with recorded seismic activity of 43 earthquakes and plume emissions reaching a height of 5,000 meters. The eruption last six minutes on Monday night.

Experts said emergency centers housing close to 3,000 evacuees are at risk from ashfall and mammoth mud flows coming from the volcano. Heavy ashfalls can collapse roofs of houses and gum up jet engines.

Canlaon city, in Negros Oriental province, ordered people living next to rivers downstream of the volcano to leave their homes and said non-essential businesses should shut.

Multiple flights to and from Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental province and the nearest major airport to the volcano, were cancelled.

“The smoke has dissipated already,” Robert Araneta of the Negros Occidental provincial disaster agency told AFP.

“We’re not seeing any threatening activities from the volcano. Some municipalities can still smell the sulfur.”

Photos and videos posted on Facebook and verified by AFP showed a dusting of ash on roads and buildings.

The Philippines is located in the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” that hosts more than half of the world’s volcanoes. Kanlaon is one of 24 active volcanoes in the archipelago nation.

The most powerful volcanic explosion in the Philippines in recent years was the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Manila, which killed more than 800 people. With AFP

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline Marcos assures gov’t support to Filipinos affected by Kanlaon Volcano eruption

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