Govt extends P246M aid to Mayon evacuees

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Government disaster agencies and local government units have spent some P246 million in assistance to 18,315 families or 70,332 persons that sought shelters in 56 evacuation centers in different parts of Albay since Mayon Volcano started its eruptive activities on Jan. 13 this year, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said on Thursday.

Claudio Yucot, regional director of OCD-Bicol, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), said that the financial assistance by national government agencies including the P75 million cash assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte was given to at least six towns and three cities affected by the eruptions.

Affected by the ongoing volcanic activities are the towns of Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, and the cities of Tabaco, Ligao, and Legazpi.

Yucot, in his report, said the assistance extended was in the form of cash for the procurement of rice and family food packs, drugs, medicine and medical supplies, and hygiene kits distributed in the various evacuation centers in Albay.

Quick Response Funds (QRF) were also downloaded to national agencies tasked to construct Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS), temporary toilet and bathing facilities, latrines, water facilities, as well as livelihood and Cash for Work for thousands of evacuees.

OCD cost assistance records indicate that among the top financial assistance providers were the Office of the President (PHP75 million) followed by Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD)-PHP32.8 million; Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-PHP30-million; Department of Health (DOH)-PHP23 million; Department of Education (DepEd) PHP17 million; Phillippine Red Cross (PRC)-PHP10 million; Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-PHP8.4 million and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-PHP527,000.

The provincial government of Albay and the nine LGUs reported that they have spent PHP49 million for relief and disaster operations.

Mayon Volcano, for the past 24-hour observation period, displayed lava fountaining and lava and pyroclastic flows at the crater’s summit, signifying that its eruptive episode remains persistent.

The effused high volumes of lava had crept and advanced 3.3, 4.5 and 400 meters down the Miisi, Bonga-Buyuan and Basud channels, respectively.

Phivolcs said the volcano had emitted 70 million cubic meters of lava since Jan. 13 while 18.3 million cubic meters of loose pyroclastic materials or lahar were deposited at the slopes in three gullies facing the 2nd and 3rd districts of Albay.

These deposits may be mobilized during moderate to heavy rains, prompting disaster authorities to brace for lahar flows in low-lying villages.

Alert Level 4 which means a hazardous eruption is imminent remains in effect. The public is warned not to venture in the 6 to 8-kilometer Danger Zone. (PNA)