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Monday, March 4, 2024

Phivolcs warns of lahar amid continuous rains

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VILLAGERS around the still restive Mayon Volcano in Albay were advised to prepare for possible evacuation due to the threat of mudflow or lahar expected to be induced by the continuous monsoon rains enhanced further by tropical storm Dodong.

“Buong paligid ng bulkan maghanda,” Teresito Bacolcol, chief of the seismology office of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in a radio interview.

In 2006, Mayon mudflows killed around 1,300 people amid the onslaught of Typhoon Reming, he recalled.

Some 20,000 residents within Mayon’s danger zone have reportedly fled their homes since the alert status was raised to Level 3, indicating that explosive activity is possible within weeks or even days.

As of Saturday, the alert level has not changed. Mudflow or lahar, which contains hardened volcanic materials such as superhot lava and ash, could reach waterways and river channels when heavy rains continue, Bacolcol warned.

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He told village leaders to prepare evacuation plans for residents living near rivers in case emergency situation arises.

“Kung nasa dalisdis lamang po sila ng bulkan na nasa taas, hindi po ito makaka-damage. Pero kung tuloy-tuloy ang pag-ulan puwede silang bumagsak katulad nung nangyari noong 2006,” the Phivolcs chief said.

“Recurring kasi itong lahar so more or less medyo aware na po ‘yung mga tao dito,” he added.

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