By Celso Amo
LEGAZPI CITY --- Veronica Perez from Barangay Buyuan of this city, who was one of the lucky survivors of Mayon Volcano’s pyrodensity current-driven explosion 25 years ago, died July 30, last week.
Her daughter Edna Anonuevo said her 85-year-old mother otherwise known here as “Lola Mayon” died from complication due to a pelvic bone fracture.
“I would like to thank all those who assisted us, especially those who helped her during her hospitalization after suffering burns,” she said.
Many of those hit by the explosion on Feb. 3, 1993 died from third degree burns on their bodies.
Pyrodensity currents which are ground-hugging clouds of superheated gas, ash and rock fragments of up to 100 kilometers per hour and temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius left a triangular scar (like the volcano) on Ms. Perez’ back, which she said becomes painful every time Mt. Mayon erupts.
Of the 104 persons who were hit by pyroclastic density current, 77 of them, mostly farmers, including 5 orchid pickers, died.
They were caught tilling their patch inside the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone on the feast day of the Candelaria which is celebrated by local farmers praying for bountiful harvest.
The Albay provincial security and emergency management office (Apsemo) said the phreatic Pexplosion occured at 11:00 a.m. and 1:11 p.m. on Feb. 3, 1993.
Cedric Daep, Apsemo head, continues to reiterate the warning to keep off the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone because the volcano has a dangerous habit of erupting without warning.
Daep recalled there was no existing alert level that time when the volcano without warning had a sudden sectoral collapse at the southeast quadrant.
The tragedy forced the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs}, in coordination with Apsemo and Legazpi City, to extend the buffer zone to seven kilometers at the south-east sector for this city’s threatened barangays of Buyuan, Mabinit, Matanag and Bonga which together have about 2,722 families or 13,208 villagers.
Alert Level 2 still prevails over Mayon Volcano which means that it is still at a moderate level of unrest.
Ed Laguerta, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Mayon resident volcanologist, said the present alert level cannot yet be lowered due to above normal sulfur gas emission.
During the past 24 hours, sulfur gas emission was measured at an average of 2,398 tons a day on July 13, 2018 which is way above the normal level of 500 tons a day.
Precise leveling data obtained on July 17-24, 2018 indicate inflation of the edifice relative to April 2-14 2018, consistent with overall short-term ground deformation results with respect to March 2018.
Although seismic monitoring network did not detect any volcanic earthquake during the past 24 hour monitoring period, there was observed a moderate emission of white steam-laden plumes that drifted northwest.
Laguerta said electronic tilt data further shows a pronounced inflation of the mid-slopes beginning 25 June 2018, possibly due to aseismic magma intrusion deep beneath the edifice.