ACT Appeal Philippines Mayon Volcano Eruption: ASPH-01


Appeal Target: US$ 137,134
Geneva, 8 March 2000

Dear Colleagues,

The Mayon Volcano located in Albay Province on the southern tip of Luzon Island is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. Mayon started to show new signs of activity on 15 February 2000, then on 21 February it started to spew out glowing lava and fragments of rocks. Since that time, the volcano has continued to threaten with sporadic eruptions and the maximum Level 5 Alert which signifies that a hazardous eruption is in progress has not been lifted.

People living within the 6-kilometer danger radius have been evacuated and according to the Government Office of Civil Defence, 68,426 persons have so far been housed in 52 evacuation centres. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCLS) estimate that the emergency situation might last for two months before they can lift the ban to the declared danger zones.

ACT member, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), responded to the crisis through their own means initially. In view of the continuing needs, NCCP requests the ACT network's support to provide further assistance to the disaster affected people in the form of:

  • Food & Nutrition
  • Medical
  • Agriculture
  • Non-food (blankets, sleeping mats, clothing, etc).

The project will be implemented over an eight-month period closing 31 October 2000.

Please kindly send your contributions to the ACT bank account and inform this office of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers. Please note the Pledge Form is no longer attached with the Appeal.

Account Number - 102539/0.01.061 (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Genève 3

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
ACT Coordinator
Rev. Rudolf Hinz
LWF/World Service


National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) was formed in 1963 as a conciliar body composed of Churches and organizations.

Relief and Rehabilitation is a special program of the Faith, Witness and Service Unit. The program is involved in disaster management work with survivors of both natural and human-made emergency situations. This includes relief services, education and training on disaster preparedness and rehabilitation assistance. Its network in the regions comprises church leaders, clergy and lay persons from the NCCP member churches, church-related organizations and people's organizations. Others are organized through the Regional Ecumenical Councils (RECs) who are given training in disaster management and eventually became the implementing local partners or local volunteers.

The Relief and Rehabilitation programme is staffed by a licensed social worker (a requirement by the government to head a relief and rehabilitation agency/program) and a driver - warehouse person. It is complemented by the personnel of the Faith, Witness and Service Unit staffed by development workers.

There are three NCCP member churches in the province: the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, the United Methodist Church and the Salvation Army. Representatives of these three churches will be formed into a committee, which will be assigned to:

  • Monitor the emergency situation,
  • Evaluate and appraise requests for assistance from local churches and organizations


Mayon Volcano is considered one of the natural wonders of the world because of its perfect cone. It is located in the province of Albay at the southern tip of Luzon Island. Though one would be awed by its beauty, this natural wonder is also one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has erupted at least 40 times since 1616. It has been observed as restless since June 22, 1999 when it unexpectedly emitted a plume of ash (sulfuric dioxide) causing panic to residents and nearby towns.

Last February 15, 2000, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level in Mayon to level 3 after observations suggested that fresh magma had risen closer to the mouth of the crater.

The volcano started spewing glowing lava fragments and rocks on the evening of February 21. Fragments were seen to detach from the lava dome and initially rolled down along the Bonga Gully to a distance of a few hundred meters from the summit.

On February 22, volcanic materials rolled down to as far as five kilometers from the volcano summit creating ash puffs that blew west-ward.

On February 25, alert level 4 was raised at early dawn after the volcano showed escalating activity. Lava emission had intensified and was accompanied by rumbling sounds. Seismographs around the volcano began to record harmonic tremors.

In no less than six hours, Mayon began to further intensify its behavior prompting the experts to raise the maximum alert level, that is 5.

Since alert level 5 was declared by the PHIVOLCS, people residing within the 7-8-kilometer extended danger zone were advised to prepare for evacuation. Those residing within the 6-kilometer radius permanent danger zone were evacuated even prior to the major eruption.

On March 1, a series of powerful eruptions occurred. The electric power supply in Legazpi City and nearby towns, were knocked out due to heavy ashfall. Authorities said this might last for one week. The winds blew the ash to the west and southwest affecting Camalig and Guinobatan which received the heaviest ashfall. All buildings and vegetation were coated with a monotonous gray

While most of the residents decided to vacate their dwellings along the volcano slopes, some of the family heads chose to stay to watch over crops and farm animals unmindful of the dangers awaiting them.

Three peoples' death has been attributed to the disaster - two elderly women died of heart attacks while a 26-year old man committed suicide after the hour-long eruption, thinking it was the end of the world.

Fifteen people, mostly children, suffered asthma attacks brought on by the volcanic ash.

Disaster officials fear food shortage, increase in respiratory tract infections, health problems, water contamination and mudflows.

As of March 1, the number of evacuees reached 62,804 comprising largely children from 54 villages, one city and 8 towns. See Table 1 for updated statistics of affected areas and families.

Number of Affected Bargangays
Number of Evacuation Centers
Number of Persons
Number of Families
1. Tabaco
2. Malilipot
3. Bacacay
4. Sto. Domingo
5. Camalig
6. Legazpi City
7. Daraga
8. Ligao
9. Guinobatan

At the time of writing this update, reports kept coming in of an increasing number of evacuees surpassing the number of families/persons estimated to be affected by the disaster by the authorities.

According to PHIVOLCS, the emergency situation might last for two months before they can lift the ban to the declared danger zones.

General Information on Areas Affected

The Bicol Region (Region V) is a sprawling peninsula of four provinces (Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon) and two island provinces (Catanduanes and Masbate) south of Manila. It is considered as one of the most impoverished regions in the country because of poor road networks, mountainous topography, inadequate support from the national government, and an environment which is almost destroyed. The Bicolandia's major livelihood activities are agriculture, fishing and commerce. The region's major crops are rice, corn, indigenous crops, and other agricultural produce. The region also produces abaca (Manila hemp) and other derivatives which are exported worldwide.

Mayon Volcano is located in Albay one of the four provinces of the Bicol Region. The province of Albay is located at the southern tip of the Luzon Island. It is bounded by the Lagonoy Gulf and the province of Camarines Sur on the north-northwest; the Pacific Ocean on the east; the province of Sorsogon on the south, and the Burias Pass on the southeast.

Generally, Albay province is a mountainous area with scattered fertile plains and valleys. It is basically an agricultural area with a total population of 702,588 according to 1990 report.

The people in this region (Region V) are commonly called Bicolanos. They are the most economically challenged people in the country, with 55% of the population living below poverty line. The area and the people almost always experience disasters, due to natural and human-made calamities yet receive minimal assistance from the government.

Adding to the woes of the region is its location in the path of typhoons which often cause devastation.


The aim is to provide life sustaining and life rehabilitating assistance to individuals and families whose capacities for survival is virtually nil. A second aim of the project is to strengthen ecumenical fellowship among NCCP member churches and mobilize them to act as a caring community.

To provide immediate assistance to the most affected victims of the Mayon Volcano eruption through:

  • provision of food, non-food items and medical assistance to around 7,500 families in the nine (9) affected municipalities and city in Albay Province
  • provision of seeds, seedlings (rice, corn and vegetables), tubers for root crops and farm inputs (organic manure, pesticides, fertilizer) for families/sectors whose crops were destroyed or as may be needed to help in their recovery.

To conduct awareness activities on the causes of disasters and the aggravating factors that contribute to the severe impact of the disaster; stress debriefing among children through group dynamics exercises; health and sanitation orientation among mothers.

To mobilize volunteers for relief missions and organize them into disaster response groups.

To organize the member churches in the province to participate in the relief operations effort.

Awareness activities, stress debriefing and health orientation will be given by the members of the team which will conduct relief delivery operations or medical missions. During distribution children will be gathered together and group dynamics activities will be undertaken. During medical missions, health orientation will be given to mothers while waiting their turn for their medical check ups.


NCCP aims to provide relief assistance to 7,500 families mostly of poor farmers and farm workers who were displaced by the Mayon Volcano eruption. Assistance will be in the form of food and non-food items as well as medicines and other needs that may be identified.

Rehabilitation assistance will likewise be provided to 450 families who are unable to start up destroyed crops and livestock due to economic limitations.

Priority will be given to individuals, families and communities who have the least means to provide daily sustenance for them selves and to recover from their economic losses.

Beneficiaries will be determined by the churches and partner organizations applying the standard criteria of needs & vulnerability.


Food and Nutrition

Food assistance will be provided to eligible beneficiaries. Each familiy will be given a relief bag containing:

  • 6 kilos of rice
  • 3 tins canned goods
  • 2 packs noodles
  • 1 pack milk
  • 1 pack sugar
  • 1 pack cooking oil
  • ½ kilo legumes
  • ½ kilo salt


A medical team will be formed to conduct medical missions. The most prevalent illnesses identified are upper respiratory tract infections, skin diseases and gastro-intestinal diseases. Around 500 patients will be targeted for medical assistance. Generic medicines will be purchased and ash masks will also be provided to families in Guinobatan and Ligao, towns which received ash fall.

Non-Food Items (bedding, clothing and utensils)

Almost all the evacuation centres are school buildings with cement floors. While some evacuated families have found tables and benches to sleep on, others use mats or old cardboard boxes to sleep on the cold cement floors. As a result, there is an increasing number of cases of coughs and colds. Thus, sleeping mats, light blankets and clothing will be provided to families who were unable to bring such provisions with them.

Kitchen utensils (spoons, plates, cups, water containers, etc) as well as laundry soap will also be provided to those families who were not able to take such provisions from their homes.

Post Crisis Assistance

Most of the families affected are farmers and farm workers who are dependent on their agricultural produce from their land which is now covered with ash and other pyro-clastic materials from the volcano which has destroyed the ready to harvest and newly planted crops. Most of these people are subsistence farmers who are dependent on loans to tide them over until the harvest. These people now need help with seeds, seedlings and other farm inputs to restart their agricultural activities.


Personnel required to carry out the emergency work

The Program Unit on Faith, Witness and Service in which the Relief and Rehabilitation Program is lodged will be responsible for implementing the proposed assistance. The two staff assigned in the emergency program (social worker and driver-warehouseman) will be complemented by the personnel of the Faith, Witness and Service Unit, which has six development workers and two administrative assistants.

Contractual staff are hired on a daily wage basis to assist in the warehouse maintenance, loading and unloading of goods and re-packing.

In addition, volunteers will be recruited mostly from churches and will be provided with meals and snacks and in some cases transportation subsidy for their services.

Administration and support requirements

  • national warehouse within the NCCP compound
  • warehouse in the area and communications center
  • two light trucks
  • other support (funds for labor expenses and hiring of vehicles to transport goods to project areas).

Procurement & Transport

Food and non-food items are usually purchased in local markets or from suppliers near the area or other centers depending on the availability of supplies.

However, for immediate relief distribution, goods will be purchased in Manila to be transported to the area. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines-South Bicol Conference in Legazpi City has offered its facilities for the operations center as well as for warehousing.

For large volumes of goods to be transported, trucks will be hired for the hauling. The NCCP will also utilize its light truck and other vehicles for the transport and delivery of goods. Church members in the province who have transport facilities will be mobilized.


The NCCP will act as the over-all coordinator and facilitator as well as administer and manage the whole project. At the regional or provincial level, the NCCP member churches - the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, the United Methodist Church, Unida Ecumenical Church and the Salvation Army will co-ordinate with the Bicol Regional Ecumenical Council (BREC) which will be NCCP's regional/provincial counterpart. The NCCP will ensure systematic and timely reporting and other compliance requirements to ACT-International.

Monitoring and Reporting Procedures

  • On-site visits to affected areas either by the NCCP staff and/or its partners
  • Area survey reports from local counterparts.
  • Participation in relief operation.
  • Activity reports, both financial and narrative, by local counterparts.
  • Project completion report to ACT, both narrative and financial.

Financial Management and Controls

Funds transmitted to the NCCP bank account or given to NCCP in cash/cheque will be acknowledged by an official receipt. All disbursements will be made in accordance with the budget or grant from any funding partners for a certain activity and shall meet with the finance officer's requirements. The request should be signed by the Program Secretary or her duly designated representative and with the attachment of proper supporting documents. After submission of these documents, the Treasurer's Office will prepare a disbursement voucher and check for the implementation of the activity. If it is a cash advance, the person responsible will liquidate the cash advance complete with receipts and other documents related to the activity.


The NCCP member churches, the Bicol Regional Ecumenical Council, church organizations and peoples' organizations of the affected areas will conduct surveys to determine the extent of damage, the number of affected families, immediate needs, logistics needed, resources available in the area and the number of families that need immediate assistance. The information will be relayed to the NCCP for immediate action. Corresponding number of relief bags will be released to the requesting church or organization.

Joint assessments will be made with the implementing body after completion of the relief operation. Reports and accounts will be submitted one month after the disbursement or release of assistance.

The project timeframe starts from February 2000 to October 2000 with Relief Operations from February to April, Rehabilitation Assistance from April to July and a period of Consolidation from August to October.


The NCCP will inform concerned government agencies in the affected areas of its intention to conduct relief operations. Basically, these are the Provincial Disaster Co-ordinating Council (PDCC) - Albay, City Disaster Co-ordinating Council (CDCC) - Legazpi City and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office as well as the head of the Evacuation Centre. In some cases, these agencies recommend areas where the NCCP can operate. However, the NCCP will also conduct assessments and monitoring visits to the various areas in order to have first hand information on the needs of the evacuees.

Co-ordination will be maintained with PHIVOLCS for the day-to-day update on the volcano's activity.

NCCP also co-ordinates with other non-governmental organizations operating in the province to avoid duplication of efforts.

General Information

The NCCP Secretariat and member churches responded to the needs of the disaster victims in the immediate aftermath of the volcanic eruptions by distributing used clothing and other items collected through the churches. The Conference Minister of UCCP-South Bicol Conference has circulated an appeal to its pastors and church members. The national headquarters of the Salvation Army was able to generate 5 MT of assorted food items for which NCCP was requested to help with transport. The National Office of the UCCP and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente is also mobilizing its health professionals to conduct medical missions.

Church members in Legazpi City have offered their vehicles for transport of relief goods and youth of three member churches have volunteered to work in the relief operations.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.