LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The national government released on Friday P112-million to help meet the needs of Albay residents evacuated in anticipation of Mayon Volcano’s eruption.
“This is a very big help for us, since our quick response fund is running out already,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development gave P87 million for food; the Department of Education shelled out P22 million to meet the needs of displaced students in makeshift tent-schools; while the Department of Health donated P3 million for medicines and miscellaneous supplies, Salceda disclosed.
The provincial government’s quick response fund has almost been entirely depleted, given the volume of people evacuated. A total of 55,520 people were evacuated on Sept. 15, in compliance with safety procedures, when a “Level 3” alert for Mayon Volcano was issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Salceda detailed that the fund went towards livestock evacuation, rice supply and health emergency needs of the evacuees. P19-million of the fund was spent; the bulk of which went to the local governments of Guinobatan, Malilipot, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo, Ligao City and Tabaco City.
Additionally, 378 registered nurses were hired by the provincial government to work in the evacuation centers at a rate of P600 per day, per nurse.
By Salceda’s estimates, the cost of meeting the needs of the evacuees in shelters would be at least P311-million for a 94-day period.
As of Philvolcs Sept. 27 report, magma is still flowing near the crater, with continuous spewing of 680 tons of sulfur dioxide per day from the crater. At least 11 volcanic quakes and four incidents of rock fall were recorded within that day.
Philvolcs likewise clarified that the lava dome at the crater is 45-meters high, and not 125-meters, as erroneously reported.
Meanwhile, the influx of tourists to the province continues, with tourist arrivals up by 80-percent since Mayon became active, Maria Ong Ravanilla, tourism director in Bicol, said.