Philippines - Volcanic Eruption
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
29 February 2000
1. Since the first eruption in the morning of 24 February 2000, Mt. Mayon in Albay province, 330 km southeast of Manila in the Philippines, has had a series of intermittent explosions. During 27-28 February around 20 ash and gas explosions were reported preceding the ejectment of incandescent lava. There is still lava flowing down from the crater. The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) warns of possible further fierce eruptions in the coming weeks.
2. When the volcano erupted violently on 24 February, hurling rocks and clouds of ash 10 km into the sky, pyroclastic flow reaching temperatures up to nearly 1,000 degrees Centigrade was observed to descend down the slope towards the Bonga Gully. Occurrence of pycroclastic flows may continue and is expected to sweep down along well-incised gullies and channels especially the Bonga Gully. In view of this, PHIVOLCS raised the alert to the maximum Level 5, meaning a hazardous eruption in progress and recommended the extension of the danger zone to 8 km along the southeast and northeast sector of the volcano. Since the explosion in June last year, the volcano has been restive for eight months.
3. According to an update from the Government of the Philippines channeled through UNDP in Manila, one casualty has been reported so far. As of 27 February around 48,000 people have reportedly been evacuated, including those who had been evacuated before the eruption.
4. Mt. Mayo is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, at the height of 2,462 metres with a near-perfect conical shape. In the last eruption of the mountain in 1993 which lasted for two months, more than 70 people were killed. In the history of its over 45 eruptions, the worst was recorded in 1814 when it buried an entire town and killed about 1,200 people.
5. The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) has organized task forces to handle the evacuation of residents from Mayon's slopes to safer ground. Since last June the NDCC has mobilized its counterparts at the provincial and regional levels to prepare local residents for any contingency. Various government agencies have distributed relief goods to the affected families.
6. The President visited the evacuation centers in the affected Albay province on 25 February. A state of calamity has been declared for the entire province and PHP 20 million (approx. USD 500,000) from a calamity fund of the Government have been released for covering the food requirements of the affected people.
7. The Philippines National Red Cross (PNRC) has helped in the evacuation of people and is providing emergency assistance to the evacuees in coordination with the local authorities. The National Food Authority has 1,200 sacks of rice at the disposal of the PNRC. Additionally, The PNRC is delivering canned food, bottled water, dust masks and other supplies, including communication facilities.
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
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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