OCHA Situation Report No. 3
Philippines - Volcanic Eruption
7 March 2000
1. Mt. Mayon in Albay province, 330 km southeast of Manila in the Philippines, has been in a state of upheaval since the first eruption on 24 February 2000. Volcanic activity, including high sulphur dioxide emission, tremors and volcanic quakes indicate that some magma is still rising. According to a news report, on 7 March walls of lava deposits on the slopes of the volcano collapsed and rolled down the mountain, throwing up clouds of ash which swamped villages as far as 12 km from the crater.
2. The maximum Level 5 alert, which signifies that a hazardous eruption is in progress, has not been lifted. Hot lahar flows (mudflows containing debris of volcanic origin) may occur due to highly erodible pyroclastic deposits which could be shifted if there is heavy rainfall. The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued a reminder that areas adjacent to riverbanks as well as low-lying areas are the most vulnerable to potentially destructive flows.
3. According to an update issued by the Office of Civil Defence of the Government of the Philippines on 6 March, 14,114 families comprising 68,426 persons have been housed in 52 evacuation centres.
4. Mt. Mayon is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It is 2,462 metres high, and of a near-perfect conical shape. In the last eruption of the mountain in 1993 which continued for two months, more than 70 people were killed. History records over 45 eruptions of Mt. Mayon in all, the worst occurring in 1814 when it buried an entire town and killed about 1,200 people.
5. Various Government agencies continue to implement relief activities including the distribution of relief goods such as 17,000 facemasks, environmental and health sanitation projects and monitoring of the health status of evacuees.
6. The Philippines National Red Cross (PNRC) has provided food, water and other basic amenities for 3,346 families (23,041 persons) so far.
7. The Office of Civil Defence has requested and received sufficient tents for 10,000 evacuees from the United States Embassy. The United States also provided USD 25,000 to be used to meet the immediate relief needs of those affected by the ongoing eruption of the Mayon volcano. The funds will be provided to the PNRC.
8. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is in close contact with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Manila, Philippines, and will revert with further information if the situation warrants it.
9. No request for international assistance has been received by OCHA to date.
10. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int
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In case of emergency only:Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
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Press contact:Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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