• More areas around Mayon drying up

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    LEGAZPI CITY: More cities and towns around the restive Mount Mayon are suffering from severe water shortage and water resources are drying up, Willian Sabater, chief sanitary engineer of the Albay provincial health office, told The Manila Times.

    Sabater said water resources were reported to be drying up in the towns of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Santo Domingo, Malilipot and the cities of Ligao, Tabaco and Legazpi, all located near the foot of Mayon volcano.

    “El Niño is one of the factors why water resources are drying up but this phenomenon is aggravated by the ongoing abnormal condition of Mayon volcano,” Sabater said.

    He added that even with occasional rainfall, water resources will not normalize as it is being siphoned off by the restive volcano.

    Residents in the affected areas travel several kilometers to nearby villages to fetch water since deep wells have dried up. In the past weeks, people have been patiently waiting for hours for water to flow from the faucets which is few and far between.

    Long queues are common sights in water refilling stations that could hardly process drinking water for lack of supply.

    The towns of Malilipot and Santo Domingo have declared a state of calamity to be able to use their five percent calamity fund to address the severe water shortage.

    Ed laguerta, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) resident volcanologist in Bicol, said that drying up of aquifer is a natural sign and is attributed to the abnormal condition of Mayon volcano specifically when a new magma beneath the volcano is acting up.

    “At first we’re attributing the reported drying up of wells to the dry spell due to El Niño but because of the current situation of Mayon volcano, the continuous dwindling water sources in the municipalities around the volcano is caused by Mayon’s magmatic activity,” he said.

    Laguerta said that even before or without scientific study of Phivolcs the locals have been relying on natural signs exhibited by Mayon. He has warned disaster officials in Albay and the public to be on alert for possible eruption of the restive volcano.

    Residents around restive Mount Mayon said that the massive depletion of water resources and the current signs being exhibited by the volcano is similar to the 1984 explosions wherein almost all water sources dried up before the series of big explosions.

    Laguerta said that they are closely watching Mayon Volcano’s restive condition as the activity might lead to an explosive eruption. Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano.

    While this means that no magmatic eruption is imminent, Gov. Al Francis Bichara reiterated the call to the public to stay away from the six-kilometer radius permanent danger zone owing to the perennial life-threatening danger of rock falls, landslides and avalanches at the middle to upper slope, sudden ash puffs and steam-driven or phreatic eruptions from the summit.

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