Philippines - Volcanic Eruption OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2000/0064
OCHA Situation Report No. 5
Philippines - Volcanic Eruption
23 March 2000

The following is a summary of updates released by the Office of Civil Defence in Manila on 17 March and by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on 20 March. The reports present the current status of volcanic activity, evacuation and relief operations following the eruption of Mt. Mayon Volcano in Luzon, the Philippines.


1. The seismic monitoring network detected 17 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes and 11 episodes of high frequency short duration tremors. The emission rate of sulphur dioxide has decreased from 9,000 tons per day to 5,900 tons per day. Steam emission from the crater area has been hampered by the thick clouds that have gathered around the summit of the volcano.

2. The present moderate seismicity, characterized by high volcanic gas outputs, a continuous glow at the summit and new lava deposits, represents a process normally associated with very gradual return to repose. The Mayon volcanic system is expected to continue producing earthquakes and venting large amounts of gases because of the presence of fresh magma along the whole length of the volcanic pipe and near the summit. Close observation of ground formation and measurements of pressure in the magma system indicate that the threat of new magma intrusions is not imminent.

3. Alert Level 3 is now in effect, which means that there is less probability of hazardous explosive eruption. However, sudden explosions may occur due to localized pockets of gas within the magmatic system. The effects of these explosions are expected to be contained within the six km radius Permanent Danger Zone around the volcano and the seven km Extended Danger Zone in the southeast quadrant. Intense and prolonged rainfall may trigger lahars or debris flows towards the lower slopes.

4. The number of evacuees has shrunk to 5,751 families. These comprise 27,849 people who are temporarily living in 24 evacuation centres.

5. Agricultural damage, including the loss of farm animals, is estimated at PHP 89.9 million (approximately US Dollars 2.2 million).

National and international response

6. Various government agencies continue to extend aid and monitor the condition of the affected population.

7. Contributions to this disaster may be found by clicking on Financial Tracking at the top of the page for this disaster on the OCHA Internet Website ( Donors are requested to verify this table and inform OCHA Geneva of corrections/additions/values. Donors are encouraged to notify OCHA Geneva of their contributions to this disaster using the OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format, available electronically in the above mentioned Financial Tracking Website.

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 appeal for international assistance has been issued to date.

10. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack / Mr. R. Mueller / Mr. S. Matsuka
direct Tel. +41-22-917 21 44 / 31 31 / 40 34

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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