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40,000 people bear brunt of Taal eruption

More than 40,000 people or about 9,500 families living near Taal Volcano in Batangas and the nearby province of Cavite who depend on fishing, farming, and livestock for a living are among the hardest hit by the renewed volcanic activity that began Sunday.

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40,000 people bear brunt of Taal eruption
STRAINED SIGHT. Evacuees from towns affected by Taal’s eruption queue up at an evacuation center in Tanauan, Batangas on Tuesday. Authorities said the volcano could spew out lava and ash for weeks, leaving thousands in limbo after fleeing their homes in fear of a massive eruption. AFP
The evacuees, 36,937 from the province of Batangas and 3,815 from Tagaytay City and Alfonso town in Cavite, are housed in 198 different shelters.

With the whole of Batangas province now under the state of calamity, inhabitants appealed for basic needs such as toothbrushes, underwear, clothes, potable water, blankets, and food.

A total of 286 tremors, 125 of which were felt in the Taal region, ranging from magnitude 1.2-4.1 and intensity of 1-V have already damaged some concrete and wooden dwellings surrounding the crater lake and added anxiety to those bracing for a bigger eruption.

The municipalities near Taal Volcano—Lemery, Talisay, Balete, Agoncillo, Laurel, Malvar, Taal, Mataas na Kahoy, Bauan, City of Tanauan, San Pascual, Balayan, Batangas City, Sto Tomas, and Calaca and Tagaytay City in Cavite—are severely affected by the recent eruptions.

Meanwhile, data from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Program on Resilient Communities showed that most households surveyed in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon do not have a disaster management plan specific to volcanic eruptions.

The survey, conducted in 2017, also revealed that 75 percent of respondents do not have a “go bag” or a survival kit which contains food, water, clothing and important documents necessary to be brought during evacuation, even though 80 percent of them had discussed emergency plans as a family, and 22 percent said they had experienced volcanic eruptions in the past.

Most of 624 households or 41 percent of those polled had cited the lack of money as the main barrier to disaster preparation.

This was followed by the lack of skills or knowledge (16 percent) and lack of time (15 percent). Physical disability and a feeling that disaster preparation was unnecessary were cited the least.

More than half or 52 percent of the households in CALABARZON had medical insurance but life (21 percent), asset (3 percent), and home (2 percent) insurance were low.

Most of the CALABARZON population thought children were the most vulnerable to disasters, followed by the elderly, poor people, and people with disabilities.

In terms of infrastructure and facilities, seven in every 10 households surveyed felt their houses were the most vulnerable, followed by roads, schools, and farmland.

The Department of Health yesterday said it has strengthened its support to its regional offices by augmenting resources in response to the recent Taal Volcano eruption.

“We have sent drugs, medicines such as eye drops and asthma medication, medical supplies including N95 and surgical face masks, collapsible water containers and jerry cans, water purification tablets, and hygiene kits to CALABARZON and the National Capital Region,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

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He said additional logistical support would be delivered Wednesday.

The DOH Central Office was placed on Code White Alert in light of Taal Volcano’s eruptive activity to maintain continuous coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and DOH Centers for Health Development in CALABARZON and NCR. All hospital personnel are placed on standby for possible deployment.

DOH has also deployed its personnel to 139 evacuation centers and will continue to conduct Rapid Health Assessment in different affected municipalities in the region.

Meanwhile, Code Blue Alert, which requires half of all hospital personnel to report for duty to provide medical assistance and services, has been raised in DOH Center for Health Development Region IV-A, including all its hospitals.

On Tuesday, some Tagaytay City residents made plans to flee their homes after reading on social media that an Alert Level 5 had been raised over Taal Volcano. The NDRRMC denied those rumors, however.

In Batangas, thick ash, slippery roads and the lack of equipment were preventing some residents from evacuating their homes, Vice Gov. Mark Leviste told Dobol B sa News TV.

Appealing for help, Leviste said food was the primary item that the affected Batangas residents need.

In its 6 a.m. update on Tuesday, the NDRRMC said 4,175 families or 18,187 individuals are being sheltered temporarily at 118 evacuation centers.

The affected families came from 22 towns and three cities of Batangas and from Tagaytay City and Alfonso town in Cavite.

About 2,869 families from Talisay in Batangas—one of the towns near Taal Volcano—had been evacuated to safer ground on Monday due to continuous volcanic activity.

Talisay Police chief, Sr. Inspector Aldrin Baysa, said government forces and local government units continue to move affected families in Talisay town and neighboring municipalities to safer areas away from the volcano’s wrath. With PNA

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Topics: Taal Volcano , Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Program on Resilient Communities , Aldrin Baysa
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