• President orders Gov. Salceda to ensure zero Mayon casualty

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    A Philippine Air Force helicopter surveys the area of the Mayon Volcano to check the status of lava dome blocking its crater. PHOTO BY RHAYDZ B. BARCIA

    A Philippine Air Force helicopter surveys the area of the Mayon Volcano to check the status of lava dome blocking its crater. PHOTO BY RHAYDZ B. BARCIA

    LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered Albay Gov. Joey Salceda to ensure zero casualty as residents here brace for the eruption of the Mayon Volcano.

    Aquino’s directive was coursed through Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, who relayed it to Salceda on Monday.

    Salceda, also chairman of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the President does not want a similar incident in Japan where the eruption of Mount Ontake on September 27 killed 31 hikers.

    Local officials are facing difficulties to curtail the movement of evacuees following the “hide and seek” attitude despite the food ration given to 12,757 families or 54,267 people currently staying in temporary shelters.

    Salceda ordered the forced evacuation of 12,757 families living in six to seven kilometers permanent danger zones on September 15 after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the volcano’s alert level to 3.

    Some residents at the evacuation centers continue to defy the warning and keep on returning to their houses due to lack of toilets and also to look after their farms located in the four to six kilometers danger zone.

    Local officials said the attitude of these evacuees is very dangerous as they could be roasted alive should the volcano erupt, citing the pyroclastic flow with 1,200 Celsius hot gas or 20 times hotter than boiling water.

    Phivols described Mayon as “a human being suffering from heart attack with a fast heartbeat and higher blood pressure” as the magma ascend towards the crater with massive bulging of the edifice overtime here.

    Mayon’s heartbeat and blood pressure are disturbing as shown by Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs senior resident volcanologist chief, during the daily press briefing held at Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office.

    “We’re looking now if how fast is the deformation and inflation of Mayon edifice to check what’s really happening inside the volcano,” Laguerta said.

    Phivolcs geologists are now conducting thorough study to check the deflated edifice of the volcano. For 23 days, Mayon is lull but magma builds up and bulging of edifice is at alarming stage.

    Mayon Volcano’s seismic network detected three volcanic earthquakes and two two rockfall events during the past 24-hour observation period.

    The summit was covered by clouds during the day and no crater glow was observed at night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 148 tons daily on October 5.

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