Philippines - Volcano
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
24 February 2000
1. Mt. Mayon in Albay province, 330 km southeast of Manila, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, erupted on 24 February 2000. Since its first explosion in June last year, the volcano has been restive for eight months. The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) had already declared an alert at Level 3 on a scale of five last week, meaning critical situation and a possible hazardous eruption within weeks.
2. A pile of lava that had been forming around Mayon's crater since 12 February 2000, began to crack on 21 February, sending burning lava fragments rolling down its slopes, particularly endangering residents living near the volcano's southeast portion. Some fragments were seen rolling five kilometres down a gully on the southeast side of the mountain at 80 kms/h. On 24 February it began erupting, spewing fiery debris and ash. Phivocs has raised the alert to the maximum Level 5, meaning a hazardous eruption in progress.
3. So far there are no reports of injuries. Before the eruption, local authorities had declared a six-kilometre radius from Mayon's summit as danger zone and ordered the evacuation of thousands of villagers living on the slopes of the volcano. Currently more than 29,000 people have reportedly been evacuated, including some 5,000 people who had been evacuated in advance, to centres which local authorities had set up.
4. Government troops and disaster coordinating councils have already made plans for this emergency in advance. Since last June the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) has mobilized its counterparts at the provincial and regional levels to prepare local residents for any contingency. The Department of National Defense (DND) has been closely monitoring the status of the mountain and been ready to render assistance to residents. On 22 February the Government of the Philippines stated that disaster response teams had been mobilized at the regional and provincial levels to help residents that might be affected by explosions of the Mayon volcano.
5. 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.
6. No request for international assistance has been received by OCHA to date.
7. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int
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
Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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