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PNP sends aid to towns hit by ashfall

By Connie Calipay

The Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO-5) was dispatched to the province of Sorsogon in response to the phreatic explosion of Bulusan Volcano on Sunday (June 4) morning.

In an interview, Maj. Malu Calubaquib, PRO-5 spokesperson, said the one-platoon RSSF team was deployed to help residents in the towns of Juban, Casiguran, and Irosin.

“Brig. Gen. Mario Reyes, our regional director, directed the Sorsogon Police Provincial Office to help in the evacuation of the affected individuals. Food packs, water, and other essential items were distributed in partnership with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Army,” Calubaquib said.

She added that the desalination capability equipment of PRO-5 will provide free, clean, and potable water to the affected townsfolk.

“We are all set in extending help and assistance with our fellow Sorsogonon. We are also consistently coordinating with our partner agencies to monitor the latest updates with regards to the status of Bulusan Volcano to effectively address the current situation,” Reyes said in a statement.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology hoisted Alert Level 1 over Bulusan Volcano after it spewed a thick plume at around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, causing ash falls in some areas of Sorsogon.

As of June 6, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 50 families or 180 persons from Barangay Puting Sapa in Juban town in Sorsogon have been evacuated due to heavy ashfall and pungent odor from the ash in the area.

In an advisory, the agency added that most of the evacuees are children, pregnant women and senior citizens.

Classes were also suspended in Puting Sapa Elementary School, Sangkayon Elementary School and Añog Elementary School, which were severely affected by the ashfall.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) regional office in Bicol assured the families affected by the volcanic eruption that the agency will continue to provide them with food packs and hygiene kits.

“We conduct the continuous assessment and validate the data to know if the affected families needed additional kits,” said Marites Quismorio, DSWD-Bicol disaster response management division chief.

Based on the DSWD data at noon on June 6, there were 1,850 families or 9,252 individuals affected in the towns of Juban and Irosin.

Out of this number of families, 75 families were transferred to evacuation centers.

The DSWD still expects the number of evacuees to rise as Bulusan Volcano remains under Alert Level 1.

The agency has provided a total of 1,000 family food packs and 75 hygiene kits to displaced families.

Quismorio said they have prepositioned at least 24,919 family food packs worth P12 million available at the DSWD warehouses in Albay, Catanduanes, and Masbate City which are ready for release. (With report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)


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