Philippines: Taal Volcano Eruption DREF n° MDRPH039 Operation update n° 1

Situation Report
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Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:
This Operations Update is issued to inform stakeholders of revisions made to the Emergency Plan of Action (EPOA) based on the immediate humanitarian needs and priorities identified in the areas affected by the eruption of the Taal Volcano. This comprises the following changes:

• Shelter: Expansion of the number of targeted families with essential household items from 500 to 2,500. There is a need to increase this support, especially for those affected families who cannot access their belongings as their homes are within the 7km radius of the Taal Volcano Main Crater, which remains inaccessible, and will continue to be displaced in evacuation centres (EC).

• Livelihoods and basic needs: Expansion of the number of targeted families with multipurpose cash grants from 500 to 1,500. There is a need to increase this support, especially for those affected families whose livelihoods have been disrupted or are within the 7km radius of the Taal Volcano Main Crater, which remains inaccessible.

• Water, sanitation and Hygiene: Expansion of sanitation facilities in ECs to address need based on assessment.
Temporary bathing facilities is not a need, and thus have been removed. Increased the number of people reached with hygiene promotion from 2,500 to 12,500, and increased number of targeted families with hygiene kits from 500 to 2,500 based on identified needs.

• Health: Expansion of essential services for targeted families, including the deployment of ambulances, emergency medical units (EMU), as well as mobilization of personnel to conduct first aid and psychosocial support (PSS) activities. There is a need to address gaps in existing service provision to affected families that will continue to be displaced in the ECs.

• Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) and Migration: Expansion of support through PRC Welfare Desks, including PGI, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), psychosocial support, restoring family links (RFL) and referral services. There is a need to increase support, especially for affected families whose homes are within the 7km radius of the Main Crater; and will continue to be displaced in ECs.
As a result, an additional allocation from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of CHF 259,993 has been made, bringing the total allocation for this operation to CHF 498,602. A one-month extension of timeframe (end date 31 May 2020) is also announced through this Operations Update, which will enable the Philippine Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance to affected families who will continue to be displaced for between three to six months; while strategies for relocation / resettlement are established.
The major donors and partners of the DREF include the Red Cross Societies and governments of Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, German, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as DG ECHO and Blizzard Entertainment, Mondelez International Foundation, and Fortive Corporation and other corporate and private donors. The IFRC, on behalf of the Philippine Red Cross, would like to extend thanks to all for their generous contributions.


Description of the disaster

On 12 January 2020, the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised an Alert Level from 1 to 4 (out of 5) after increasing activity of Taal Volcano, which is located on the island of Luzon in Batangas,
CALABARZON (Region IV-A). An Alert Level 4 means that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days, and warrants a “Danger Zone” of up to 14 kilometres from the main crater.
Taal Volcano is situated on Volcano Island and is listed as a “Permanent Danger Zone”, with permanent settlement on the island not recommended, however, approximately 459,300 people live within the 14 kilometres Danger Zone (OCHA). Taal Volcano is among the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, with more than 30 reported eruptions. On 12 January, PHIVOLCS reported that eruptive activity at Taal Volcano main crater had intensified, with continuous eruptions generating a 15 kilometres of steam laden cloud of superheated ash, and frequent volcanic lightning raining wet ashfall as far as Quezon City, some 100 kilometres away. This subsequently progressed to a magmatic eruption accompanied by thunder and more lightning. Since 12 January 2020,
PHIVOLCS has reported 755 volcanic earthquakes, measuring magnitude of 1.2 to 4.1 and felt at intensities I (weak) to V (strong).
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) report issued on 28 January 2020:

• Pre-cautionary evacuations were conducted in at-risk communities in 16 municipalities of Batangas and two municipalities of Cavite provinces on the advice of PHIVOLCS.

• 396,731 people (104,645 families) have been affected by the Taal Volcanic eruptions in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Quezon, Region IV-A (CALABARZON).

• Families displaced:

o 135,610 people (39,076 families) are being supported in 535 evacuation centres, and,

o 170,732 people (44,439 families) are outside the registered evacuation centres.

• Essential services affected

o Eight public and private health facilities have been closed as a result of evacuation

o 264 cities/municipalities suspended classes, of which 228 have now resumed. 78 schools in the 14km zone had to be evacuated, affecting approximately 31,000 children (Department of Education).

o Nine roads have been affected, of which five remain in areas that are inaccessible.

o 643 flights cancelled due to ashfall (383 domestic and 260 international), with all now having resumed.

On 26 January 2020, PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level from 4 to 3 as the likelihood towards a hazardous eruption was reduced.
As of 28 January 2020, activity in the volcano has been characterized by weak to voluminous emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes 100 to 800 metres high, that have drifted southwest. Despite the lowering of the Alert Level,
PHIVOLCS has cautioned that the risk of another eruption has not disappeared, and sudden steam-driven, and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal volcanic gas expulsions could still occur. While there has been returning of evacuees over the past days, areas over Taal Lake and communities within a 7km radius west of the Taal Volcano Main Crater continue to be inaccessible. States of Calamity remain in place in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite, as well as in the city of Tagaytay in Region IV-A (CALABARZON), while lockdowns remain in place in municipalities of Agoncillo, Balete, Laurel, San Nicholas and Talisay. It is expected that at least 15,000 families will continue to require support.
Based on assessments, there continues to be a need for essential household items, first aid and psychosocial support, food assistance, heath, livelihoods, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Taal Volcano eruptions come as authorities and partner organizations in the Philippines are already responding to public health emergencies (measles and polio outbreaks, MDRPH032), earthquakes (Mindanao, MDRPH036) and typhoons (Kammuri, November 2019, MDRPH037; Phanfone, December 2019 MDRPH038); whilst also monitoring the evolving outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV).