LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: Two municipalities in Albay province near the restive Mount Mayon declared a state of calamity on Friday owing to severe water scarcity associated with the volcano’s abnormal condition and climate change.
The municipalities of Santo Domingo and Malilipot are now allowed to use their calamity funds to address the depleting water supply after the main sources dried up because of the El Niño phenomenon, aggravated by Mayon volcano’s restless state.
Despite periodic rainfall recently, water sources continued to dry up in the past months as new magma beneath the volcano began building up.
The drying up of wells and water resources is a natural sign, according to local folk, that can lead to eruptions.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level from zero to level 1 last September 8 over Mayon Volcano.
Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident chief volcanologist in Bicol, said new magma beneath the volcano was moving toward the crater.
The volcano’s seismic monitoring network, however, did not detect any volcanic earthquake, but moderate emission of white steam plumes that crept down the slope toward the southwest was observed in the past few days.
Similarly in Sorsogon province, Crispulo Diolata, Phivolcs resident volcanologist, said magma movement was also noted over Mount Bulusan.
Bulusan Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded at least 17 volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours.
Weak emission of white steam plumes that rose up to 250 meters and drifted west-northwest was observed.
Alert Level 1 (abnormal) remains in effect over Mount Bulusan.
This indicates that hydrothermal processes are underway beneath the volcano that may lead to more steam-driven eruptions.
Local government units and the public are reminded that entry to the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited owing to possibility of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.