Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas on Tuesday urged his constituents to stay in evacuation centers even though the alert level in Taal Volcano has been lowered.
READ: Further lowering of Taal danger level seen
In a bulletin on Tuesday morning, Mandanas said the risks to health, property, and livelihood in the province remained high even after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology lowered the alert level to 3
READ: Taal danger level lowered—Phivolcs
“Although residents in areas living beyond the seven-kilometer radius have the option to return to their homes, the province is still advising the residents to remain in evacuation,” Mandanas said.
“Sufficient food, water, clothing, medicines, and other personal hygienic needs are all available in evacuation facilities,” he added.
In its 6 a.m. update Tuesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the number of families affected by Taal’s eruption rose to 104,645 or about 396,731 people from the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon.
The number of families still being sheltered in 535 evacuation centers was placed at 39,076 while the remaining families are said to be residing in the houses of their relatives and friends.
Damage to infrastructure and agriculture in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna was placed at P3.35 billion.
The amount of assistance extended to the affected families by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health amounted to P80.88 million.
NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad, in an interview Monday, said the focus of the agency now is the rehabilitation and recovery of the affected communities as the families living outside the volcano’s seven-kilometer danger zone are now being given an option to return to their homes.
He said concerned agencies are gathering data on post-disaster needs assessments, which will be followed by the crafting of a rehabilitation and recovery plan.
PHIVOLCS on Tuesday said the emission of sulfur dioxide
and the number of volcanic earthquakes continued to fall in the last 24 hours.
No other fissure was observed within the volcano, it added.
READ: Phivolcs sees lesser chance of eruption
In its 8 a.m. bulletin yesterday, PHIVOLCS said “activity in the main crater in the past 24 hours has been characterized by weak to voluminous emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes 100-800 meters tall that drifted southwest. Sulfur dioxide emission was below instrumental detection.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, meanwhile, mobilized its regional offices nationwide to assist in the management of solid waste in evacuation centers for affected residents by the eruption of Taal Volcano.
Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said the agency would conduct information drive on proper solid waste management in evacuation centers not only in Batangas but also in Cavite and Laguna.
He called on donors to avoid donating single-use plastic items.
“Plastic forks, spoons, cups, plates and coffee stirrers may be convenient, but they are wreaking havoc on the environment,” he said.
He said his agency is willing to help affected local governments in dealing with garbage problem resulting from Taal Volcano’s eruption.
In Tacloban City, car enthusiasts brought relief assistance to Taal Volcano evacuees in Batangas.
“We’re overwhelmed with the outcome of our Taal relief operations and I don’t know where to start due to the sheer number of people that we should be thankful for,” said Rhoel Ladera, an official of the Navara Nation Philippines-Eastern Visayas chapter.
At least eight pick-up trucks and another vehicle loaded with food and non-food items were distributed by the automobile group to around 800 evacuees at San Antonio Elementary School in San Pascual town in Batangas over the weekend.
“We initially planned to distribute the donations to three locations but we decided to give almost all to the school for they needed it badly,” he said.
Ladera said their arrival in the area was timely as food supplies were running out in the area.
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