Philippines

Red Cross aids families displaced by Mayon volcano

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The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies today appealed for 250,000 Swiss francs to support families permanently evacuated from their homes near to the Mount Mayon volcano on the Philippines island of Luzon.
The Philippine Red Cross helped to evacuate nearly 47,000 people after Mount Mayon erupted violently on July 26 and 27. Although the Philippines Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has now lowered the alert around the volcano, further eruptions are expected imminently.

Philippine Red Cross staff and volunteers have also been working around the clock to distribute food and non-food items, mainly in two of the 27 camps for the displaced that have been set up in the area. After the first eruption on July 26, the Philippine Red Cross provided emergency assistance to more than 43,000 people and to 30,000 following the eruptions on July 27.

Red Cross efforts, supported by the International Federation, will now focus on supporting nearly 4,460 people who have been permanently displaced, for two months with food and non-food items.

"These families, who lived within a 6km permanent danger zone around the volcano, have lost their homes and livestock. Their land has also been irreparably damaged by the recent eruptions," says Anthony Spalton, the Federation's south east Asia programme manager.

The displaced are expected to stay in the evacuation camps until the government has identified permanent resettlement sites while the Red Cross will carry out an assessment of longer term needs within two months. The Philippine Red Cross has built up extensive experience in these operations after playing a vital role in the rehabilitation of victims of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo disaster.

Mount Mayon, which lies some 330km southeast of Manila, is one of the Philippines' most active volcanos. There are at least 45 recorded eruptions. The worst in 1814 buried an entire town, killing about 1,200 people.

For further information, or to arrange interviews please contact:

In Bangkok:
Omar Valdimarsson
Regional Information Delegate
Tel : (66) 2661 6933/ (66)1823 9218

In Geneva :
Jemini Pandya
Information Officer
Tel: (41 22) 730 4570 / (41 79) 217 3374

The Federation, National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

For further information on Federation activities, please see our web site: www.ifrc.org