Albay braces for tremors from rumbling Mayon

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LEGAZPI CITY: A series of earthquakes felt in Albay province in the past days should alert Bicolanos about possible dangers as these tremors generated by a rumbling Mayon Volcano may be compounded by heavy rains brought by typhoons and the monsoon season, according to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) here.

Cedric Daep, Apsemo chief, on Wednesday said the earthquakes, which were tectonic in origin, could trigger stronger tremors.

He warned the people of Albay to be prepared for natural calamities, such as that posed by the restive Mayon Volcano in the province.

“Mayon Volcano is in an abnormal situation and we are apprehensive of the possibilities that a “Big One” might strike, considering the series of earthquakes taking place here, while the national government and disaster officials are preparing for the ‘Big One’ in Metro Manila,” Daep said.

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Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara urged Albayanos to brace for possible typhoons as November, he said, is the season of strong typhoons.

For the past 20 years, strong typhoons have battered the country, especially Albay, in November.

Among them were “Sisang” in 1986, “Rosing” in 1995, “Loleng” in 1998, “Reming” in 2006 and “Yolanda” in 2013.

Bichara said if a typhoon hits, the people must be prepared for destructive and deadly winds, storm surges, floods, landslides and lahar flows near gullies around Mayon Volcano.

“Remember, our goal is to have a resilient community, our objective is zero casualty,” he added.

As of September 2016, there have been 2,430 families or 10,508 individuals living within the six-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ) of the volcano, 4,998 families or 20,428 persons residing within the seven-km danger zone and 343 families or 1,295 persons within the southeast quadrant extended zone.

Apsemo has recorded around 3,399 vegetable farmers in these areas.

Mayon Volcano remains on Alert Level 1, meaning the public must remain within the recommended six km-radius PDZ.

It is safe and normal outside this area, according to Bichara, except during heavy rains.

Ed Laguerta, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology resident volcanologist, said they are closely monitoring and assessing Mount Mayon activities.

On Saturday, Mayon Volcano registered at least 32 tremors but dropped to 12 on Sunday and the volcanic quakes increased again to 13 on Monday.

On Wednesday, Phivolcs seismic monitoring network recorded one volcanic earthquake and a rockfall over 24 hours.

Moderate emission of white steam-laden plumes that drifted southwest was observed.

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