Philippines: Palace urges Filipinos to extend assistance to Albay evacuees

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Manila (23 December) -- Malacanang has appealed for help for the thousands of Albay residents crammed into evacuation centers as Mayon Volcano continued to show signs of imminent eruption.

Presidential Economic Spokesperson Gary Olivar made the call in response to Albay official's request for additional assistance to evacuees who are facing a bleak Christmas in the midst of Mayon's continuous tantrums.

The government is already providing the evacuees with food, medicines, blankets, and other necessities, but additional assistance could go a long way to alleviate the sufferings of the people.

Olivar assured that even if she is thousands of kilometers away in Hong Kong, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has reiterated her directives to all government agencies to ensure "zero casualty" in the event of a Mayon eruption.

He said the national government, through the Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the provincial government of Albay and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) is managing the situation on the ground "very well."

Mayon, the world's most perfect-coned volcano but the most active, continues to rumble, emitting clouds of soot that left a layer of fine ash on villages near it.

Health officials warned that the tiny particles of dust could cause respiratory problems or skin diseases. (PIA)