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Government eyes more evacuation centers as Bulusan spews more ash


(Updated 9:21 p.m.) Authorities in Sorsogon province in Bicol are preparing additional evacuation centers for residents near restive Bulusan Volcano, which spewed ash as high as two kilometers from the summit Sunday — the highest since the Bulusan started acting up last November 6.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said there are presently 52 centers that can accommodate up to 49,218 people.

In its Sunday update, the NDRRMC indicated additional centers may be put up in Sorsogon City “in case of massive evacuation.”

Over 500 families from Irosin and Juban were evacuated as a result of Sunday’s explosion, according to Director Raffy Alejandro of the Office of the Civil Defense-Region V. They are housed in evacuation centers and attended to by relief workers.

Alejandro said 500 of the families were from Irosin town while about 40 others were from Juban. “They were within the six kilometer danger zone..We prioritized (in the evacuation) the pregnant and the children,” Alejandro said.

The Rural Health Unit of Irosin town in Sorsogon is continuously conducting community health checkups in areas experiencing ash falls.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways in Sorsogon will conduct dredging in Rangas and Cogon Rivers in Juban town “to widen the river channels that had been blocked due to successive explosion of rocks and sediment materials from Mt. Bulusan.”

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the ash explosion on Sunday occurred at 7:22 a.m.

Alejandro said the ash explosion lasted for almost nine minutes.

Evacuation centers

Sorsogon City presently has eight evacuation centers that can accommodate 16,000 people. Gubat (12), Juban (12) and Casiguran (11) presently have the most number of centers.

Following Sunday’s ash explosion, Phivolcs reminded residents not to venture near the 4-km permanent danger zone. It said Alert Level “1” remains over Bulusan.

NDRRMC records indicate at least one person, a 28-year-old asthmatic man, had died from Bulusan’s ash explosions and resulting ash fall.

Also, NDRRMC records show that as of 11 p.m. Friday, 2,712 families or 13,561 people in 18 villages in Casiguran, Juban and Irosin towns had been affected.

NDRRMC said 84 families or 370 people have been evacuated and served in eight evacuation centers. – KBK, GMANews.TV

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