Mayon’s ashfall affects 178 villages in CamSur

By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY --- The ashfall of Mayon eruption has affected 178 villages, mostly in the towns in the fifth district of Camarines Sur along the boundary with Albay province. Luzena N. Bermeo, head of Camarines Sur’s Environment and Disaster Management and Emergency Response Office (Edmero), said all villages in Iriga City and the towns of Balatan, Bato, Baao and Nabua are affected. Bermeo said the provincial government has established Incident Command Post in Iriga City to respond to cases of ashfall in the fifth district of Camarines Sur. She said a fire truck and two lorries were deployed to help clean up the ashfall in the affected villages. She added that gas masks were distributed in Balatan and Nabua towns where the ashfall is thick. In Iriga City, Marieser Almelor, city disaster risk reduction management officer, said yesterday (Wednesday) all the 36 barangays there are affected by the ashfall where 17 of them are severely affected with at least one inch of ashfall. Almelor said all classes in all levels, private and public, had been suspended since Monday. She said the city government distributed 1,500 masks to the barangays extremely affected by ashfall comprising of more than 50,000 individuals. Almelor said they experienced heavy ashfall last Monday but they were able to cope and respond immediately because of information campaign launched in the barangays regarding the effects of the Mayon eruption and the precaution that must be taken prior to the bigger eruption that started on Jan. 22. “We went around the barangays and activated the barangay disaster risk reduction teams and directed them to disseminate the information to the villagers regarding the possibility of ashfall reaching Iriga City,” she said. So far, she said, they have not received report of incidents related to effects on the health of the people where the ashfall fell while the city health office monitors the health situation in the communities 24/7. Almelor said midwives are also deployed in the barangays to directly monitor the health situation and report ashfall-related health incidents. She said they have started flashing out ashfall in the roads utilizing fire trucks and on Wednesday the priority for ashfall clean up are the barangays extremely affected. Almelor said the city government has deployed special rescue unit of the Bureau of Fire and Protection in Albay to assist the local government there of their needs in response to the eruption of Mayon eruption. Yesterday, she said, the city government sent 1,000 kilos of tilapia to Tabaco City to augment the food supply for the victims of Mayon eruption in the evacuation centers.