More aid prepared for Taal Volcano evacuees

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Residents affected by the Taal volcano eruption settle inside an evacuation center in Santo Tomas, Batangas on January 13, 2020. Photo by Mary Grace dela Cerna/Rappler

More resources or aid are underway for the Taal Volcano evacuees, Civil Defense Administrator, Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, reported Friday night.

“There are national government agencies that organized resources. The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and DOH (Department of Health) also committed (to provide) different items,” he said.

Jalad added that they are assessing the needs of the evacuees should Taal’s volcanic activity escalate.

Evacuees are from the high-risk areas in the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas province.

Latest figure from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said there are 376 families or 1,495 evacuees. Jalad said 330 families are currently in 12 evacuation centers, while 46 families opted to stay with their relatives in different municipalities.

“There was initial transportation of food earlier from the DSWD. They have a quick response fund, and they also requested for additional fund. That will be taken from the National Disaster Risk Reduction fund. If in case it would not suffice, we would ask the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) for the money so we could feed the evacuees, including those who are staying in their relatives,” Jalad said.

The official added that the OCD would request (face) masks from the DOH, since these are among the needs of the evacuees.

Jalad, meanwhile, said the DOH is considering the possibility of a vaccination rollout for the responders.

Taal Volcano has been under Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) since July 1, as a phreatomagmatic eruption — a result of the interaction between magma and water — occurred at the main crater at 3:16 p.m.

The eruption generated a dark grayish plume that rose 1,000 meters. Phivolcs recommended complete evacuation at the Taal Volcano Island, Taal Lake, and villages in Agoncillo (Banyaga, Bilibinwang), and Laurel (Gulod, Boso-Boso, Lakeshore Bugaan East), due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.

Four phreatomagmatic bursts were also recorded on Thursday night. These bursts produced short jetted plumes that rose 200 meters above the main crater lake.

 

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