Volcanic quakes rock Mt. Bulusan and Mt. Mayon

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Albay Governor Joey Salceda briefs members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Monday (May 16) at the office of Civil Defense (OCD), Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola, Legazpi City, especially handling situations for Mayon and Bulusan volcanoes which are merely 80 kilometers apart from each other. Photo courtesy PIA Bicol
Albay Governor Joey Salceda briefs members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) Monday (May 16) at the office of Civil Defense (OCD), Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola, Legazpi City, especially handling situations for Mayon and Bulusan volcanoes which are merely 80 kilometers apart from each other. Photo courtesy PIA Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY – Two volcanoes in the Bicol region are showing off their might as Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon, not to be outdone by Albay’s Mt. Mayon which recorded 15 volcanic quakes on Sunday, registered at least 144 tremors on Monday, indicating that its state of unrest has intensified further.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanolgy and Seismology (Phivolcs) said they are closely monitoring event of a magma buildup at the volcano’s vent that triggered the 144 volcanic earthquakes as detected by the agency’s seismic instruments.

Dr. Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist, said Bulusan volcano has spewed ash clouds 14 times since November 6, 2010, with the latest ash explosion occurring last Friday.

On the other hand, Mayon volcano’s earthquake episodes dropped by six quakes from the 15 quakes recorded on Sunday, Laguerta said.

The two volcanoes are exhibiting fluctuating seismic activities, signifying that their abnormal conditions are indeed intensifying, Laguerta explained at the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) meeting on Monday.

Phivolcs bulletin said the Mayon volcano crater glow was observed at Intensity II (can be seen by the naked eye) Monday night.

Laguerta said the crater glows observed at nighttime are actually “glowing rocks” that magma heated up at the volcano’s vent.

Mayon’s gas emission was measured at 745 tons on Monday while a slight inflation at the volcano’s edifice was observed by Phivolcs’ precise levelling survey. Alert Level 1 remains hoisted over Mt. Mayon and Bulusan.

Disaster authorities were directed to strictly enforce the “No human Activity” in the six-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) surrounding Mt. Mayon, while for Mt. Bulusan, residents are strictly prohibited to enter the four-kilometer PDZ.

The RDRRMC on Monday completed its contingency disaster plans in the event the restive state of Mt. Mayon and Mt. Bulusan turns into full-blown eruptions.

The contingency plan includes the creation of Task Forces Mayon and Bulusan. The two task groups will be under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with 70 military trucks on standby for mass evacuation.

The Departments of Health (DOH) and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have pre-positioned medical supplies, and relief goods and family food packs.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda, PDRRMC chairperson, said that once the alert level status over Mayon is elevated to Level 2, evacuation will start for the 2,600 villagers living near the PDZ. Alert Level 3 calls for the evacuation of 12,000 persons, and if Alert Level 4 is hoisted, 18,000 people will be evacuated.

He said some 32,600 people living near Mt. Mayon would have to be moved out once a full-blown eruption of the volcano occurs.

Noting that the calamity fund of the province is only good for 45 days, Salceda requested the RDRRMC for external funding once the eruption would last for three months.

In previous eruption events, the provincial government had spent over P100,000 in calamity fund, he said. (PNA)

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