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Mayon Volcano affects 23,000 families

A total of 88,866 individuals have been affected by the unrest of Mayon Volcano as it spews fountains of red, hot lava and ash plumes over the weekend in Legazpi City, Albay.

Ricardo Jalad, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director, said on Friday said the number of affected individuals was equivalent to almost 23,000 families.

Mostly affected were 56 barangays located in Bacacay, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Santo Domingo (Malibog) and Legazpi City, Albay.

According to the Associated Press, lava fountains gushed up 700 meters (2,300 feet) above Mount Mayon’s crater, and ash plumes rose up to 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) Monday night.

At least three major blasts followed Tuesday, including an explosion at nightfall that was capped by one of the most massive lava displays since the volcano started acting up more than a week ago, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

Jalad said 18,365 families or 69,672 persons are currently being assisted in 69 evacuation centers while another 2,822 families or 11,946 individuals are being helped outside.

Assistance provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Office of Civil Defense, Local Government Units and Non-Government Organizations has now amounted to PHP40,116,833.88.

Philippine Army troops are at the forefront of Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) efforts in Legazpi City.

“Troops from the (Army’s) 9th Infantry Division have been deployed to conduct humanitarian response and risk reduction operations since Mount Mayon started to show signs of eruption,” Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva, said.

Photo by Armed Forces of the Philippines

Villanueva said the soldiers had assisted the local governments in evacuating affected residents in the danger zone and in packing and delivering relief goods to the evacuation centers in Albay.

An estimated 19,972 families had to leave their homes for safety, according to reports.

“Our troops are always ready to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response in times of calamities like this,” Villanueva said.

“Right now, the Army is still in close coordination with the local government units in Albay, the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction, and Management Council, and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office for constant updates in case there is a need for more response operations,” he added.  With reports from Associated Press and  Philippine News Agency