AS MAYON VOLCANO ACTS UP: Albayanos advised: Better be prepared for ‘worst scenario’
By Rhaydz B. Barcia LEGAZPI CITY --- Following a series of earthquakes that jolted Bicol, specifically Albay, Bicolanos are advised to prepare for complex disaster events during this typhoon season because earthquakes and heavy rains may cause liquefaction in the region, Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) here warned. Daep expressed fear that the series of earthquakes taking place in the region with tectonic in origin might trigger bigger quakes that could cause liquefaction in the future. The province’s top disaster management chief warned the Albayanos to be on guard for upcoming natural calamities not only for impending Mayon volcano eruption. “Mayon Volcano is in abnormal situation but we are apprehensive of the possibilities that the big one might occur in the countryside considering the series of earthquakes taking place here while the national government and disaster officials in Manila are wary about the ‘big one,’” Daep was quoted as saying. Daep said Bicol may be lacking of disaster responders should a stronger earthquake occur. Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara for his part warned the Albayanos to be multi-hazard prepared because the month of November is traditionally known for stronger typhoons and other natural calamities, particularly in Bicol. Typhoons in November For the past 20 years, the country, specifically Albay province, was battered by strong typhoons mostly in the month of November, some of which include super typhoons Sisang in 1986; Rosing in 1995; Loleng in 1998; Reming in 2006, and; Yolanda in 2013. All these deadly typhoons took place in November. Typhoons are usually accompanied by destructive wind, storm surge, flood, landslide, flash flood, debris flows and lahar. Other weather hazards like cold front and low pressure areas, these do not manifest wind warnings that usually result to water overflow in the flood plains, landslides along the slopes, flash flood, and debris flows along the river channels and lahar near the gullies around the volcano, the governor said. “Remember, our goal is resilient community, our objective is zero casualty,” Bichara reiterated. As of September 2016, there were 2,430 families or 10,508 individuals living within the six-kilometer permanent danger zone; 4,998 families or 20,428 persons residing at 7-km danger zone ant 4,507 families or 18, 733 individuals or a total of 11,935 families and 49,669 individuals while 343 families or 1,295 persons residing at southeast quadrant extended zone. As to number of farmers, there are 3,399 vegetable farmers recorded by Apsemo as of September 2016. Alert Level 1 remains Mayon Volcano remains at Alert Level 1 status. “Don’t enter nor stay within the recommended 6 km-radius permanent danger zone so you don’t have to worry about,” he said. Risk reduction is in effect within the 6 km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ). Outside of the 6 km PDZ is safe and normal, according to Bichara except during heavy to torrential rainfall, within the range of 40 to 60 mm per hour for lahar avoidance of those residing near the Mayon gullies or river channels. Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist in Bicol said they are closely monitoring and assessing Mount Mayon activities based on the given parameters monitored through the seismic monitoring instruments around the restive volcano. Last Saturday, Mayon Volcano registered at least 32 tremors, dropped to 12 on Sunday but volcanic quakes increased again at 13 on Monday. Among the parameters being monitored by Phivolcs scientists are earthquakes, (increasing volcanic harmonic tremors) edifice inflation, magma intrusion; gas emission and crater glow. Yesterday (Wednesday), Mayon Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded one (volcanic earthquake and one rockfall event during the past 24 hours. Moderate emission of white steam-laden plumes that drifted southwest was observed. Continuous GPS and tiltmeter measurements also indicate inflationary trend since July 2016. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 633 tonnes on November 3, 2017. Because Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, it means that it is at abnormal condition. Although this means that presently no magmatic eruption is imminent, it is strongly advised that the public refrain from entering the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) due to the perennial life-threatening dangers of rockfalls, landslides, avalanches at the middle to upper slope, sudden ash puffs and steam-driven or phreatic eruptions from the summit.