Albay villages brace for lahar flow

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LEGAZPI CITY: The Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (Apsemo) is bracing for the onslaught of lahar in low lying areas of Guinobatan town because of the continuous heavy downpour in the province this week.

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“Lahar might re-mobilize in Guinobatan. Millions of tons of cubic meters (of volcanic debris) have been observed and threatened to re-mobilize in case of heavy rainfall here,” said Apsemo chief Cedric Daep at the disaster risk reduction climate change adaptation on tourism and biodiversity media workshop in Legazpi City.

Daep said the big volume of debris from Mayon Volcano piled up along river channels may be carried by floodwaters towards the communities of Guinobatan.

The alert status for Mayon Volcano is currently at Alert Level 2, which means the volcano is at a moderate level of magmatic unrest.

The public is reminded to avoid the 6-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone because of the hazards of rockfalls, avalanche and steam-driven or phreatic eruptions at the summit area.

Similarly, people living in valleys and active river channels are cautioned to remain vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows in the event of prolonged and heavy rainfall.

In Bataan, about 1,000 families were told to be ready to evacuate after portions of the riprap of Bulok River bridge in Barangay Balon Anito, Mariveles town collapsed on Thursday.

Barangay Chairman Celso Solano said the Department of Public Works and Highways declared on Thursday that the bridge is no longer passable to heavy vehicles.

Earlier, classes in all levels, both public and private schools, were suspended and that at least 43 families or 217 persons from barangay Bayan-Bayanan in Dinalupihan town were evacuated to the barangay hall, chapel and daycare center because of the threat of landslides in their area.

In Ormoc City, the Philippine Coast Guard station suspended all the trips of the three fast craft companies, namely; 2Go, Weesam Express and the Ocean Jet because of a gale warning issued by the weather bureau.

In La Union, two truckloads of relief goods were sent to the city hall in San Fernando for distribution to typhoon victims by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The 10,000 bags of relief goods were earmarked for residents of San Fernando City, San Juan, Bacnotan, Balaoan, Bangar, Luna, Sudipen, San Gabriel and Santol.

In Bulacan, heavy downpour caused floods, traffic and cancellation of classes in all level in the municipalities of Hagonoy, Obando, Bocaue, Paombong, angat, Baliwag, Marilao, Calumpit, Bulakan, Sta. Maria, Meycauayan, and cities of San Jose Del Monte and Malolos.

Authorities continue to monitor the water level of Angat Dam, located in Norzagaray in Bulacan, which has increased to 169.94 meters on Thursday or higher by 0.32 meters a day earlier.

Some local government units of the province have been preparing relief goods for families affected by the rains.

WITH ROBERT DEJON, WILLIAM JUN GARCIA, RON B. LOPEZ, ERNIE ESCONDE, PNA

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