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Philippines: Mayon Volcano - Jan 2018

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On the evening of 14 January, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) raised Mayon Volcano’s alert level from II to III, signifying that Mayon has increased tendency towards hazardous eruption. On the morning of 15 January 2018, two lava collapse events occurred in the volcano, producing rockfall and small-volume pyroclastic density currents. Ash clouds were also produced with ashfalls reported in 29 villages (barangays) in the municipalities of Camalig and Guinobatan in the southwest of the volcano. Furthermore, on 16 January, lava flow and more rockfall events and short pyroclastic flows were also observed. PHILVOLCS recommended that the 6-km permanent danger zone and a 7-km extended danger zone be enforced due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows. As a result of the heightened alert level, precautionary evacuations have been conducted in 25 villages (barangays) in 3 municipalities and 2 cities. As of 15 January, a total of 5,318 families (21,823 people) have been displaced, with 4,134 families (16,877) staying in 18 evacuation centres. (IFRC, 16 Jan 2018)

On 22 Jan 2018, alert level-4 (hazardous eruption imminent) was raised over Mayon Volcano located in Albay province. The danger zone was extended to an 8 km radius, up from a previous 7 km where local authorities were advised to prevent any human activity due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows. As of 22 January, 7,900 families (30,000 people) have evacuated from seven Albay municipalities neighbouring Mount Mayon. (OCHA, 22 Jan 2018)

On 24 Jan 2018, the danger zone has been further extended to a 9 km radius. Around 60,500 people have been displaced and are sheltered in 52 evacuation centres or are being hosted by relatives and friends. (OCHA, 24 Jan 2018)

As of 29 January, nearly 90,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to ongoing eruptions at Mount Mayon. The majority of displaced people are staying in 74 evacuation centres. Lack of drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene and dignity kits have been noted in areas where evacuees are staying. (OCHA, 29 Jan 2018)

As of January 30, Alert level-4 (hazardous eruption imminent) remains in effect over Mayon Volcano. The volcano is showing high levels of continuing unrest, with lava fountains and frequent ash explosions occurring several times a day, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) (OCHA, 30 Jan 2018).

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, 90,183 persons have been affected by the eruption, with 72,872 taking temporary shelter in 76 evacuation centers (Govt. of Philippines, 30 Jan 2018)

Mayon Volcano remains on Level 4 alert. As of 5 February, 86,000 people are affected, with 65,000 people staying in 59 evacuation centres. A total of 57 schools and 91,300 students within the 6-9-kilometer danger zones are affected. (OCHA, 05 Feb 2018).

As of 10 February, 88,500 people from 61 barangays have been displaced due to the Mayon Volcano, with most people staying in emergency centres. The Mayon seismic monitoring network recorded 108 volcanic related earthquakes as of 11 February that resulted in lava fountains. The Department of Agriculture has provided farm supplies and materials to 10,500 affected farmers. Medical missions and psychosocial activities, as well as food and non-food items, are being delivered at the emergency centres for displaced people. (OCHA, 12 Feb 2018).

As of 19 February 2018, a Level 4 alert remains raised over Mayon Volcano. Up to 90,000 people in six municipalities and two cities of Albay province are affected, with 62,000 people currently in 57 evacuation centres. The health department has deployed a team from the regional and provincial health offices to reassess the health conditions in evacuation centers, while NGOs are conducting psychosocial activities for children living inside evacuation centers. (OCHA, 19 Feb 2018).

As of 26 February, the number of people affected by the eruption of Mount Mayon has risen to over 90,000. A level 4 alert remains in effect over the volcano. On 26 February, 36 separate lava eruptions lasting up to 19 minutes occurred. 62,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to the volcano and are staying in 57 evacuation centres. To date, approximately USD$8.6m has been provided in assistance. The social welfare and development office has distributed 3,000 food packs and tents for temporary shelter. (OCHA, 26 Feb 2018).

As of 28 February, more than 90,000 people remain affected as a Level 4 alert continues to be raised over Mayon volcano. Almost 62,000 are staying in 57 evacuation centres. The national and regional line agencies, and local government units have provided US$8.6m worth of assistance, including the distribution of food packs and tents by the social welfare and development office. Providing education to children displaced by the volcano and supporting the livelihoods of farmers with land in the six to nine-kilometer permanent danger zone, remain key priorities. (OCHA, 5 Mar 2018).

On 6 March 2018, the alert level of the volcano has been downgraded to Level 3 due to declining in unrest reflected by moderate seismicity and degassing, deflation of the edifice, and a decrease in eruptive activity at the summit crater. As of 8 March 2018, over 49,000 people are still taking shelter in 48 evacuation centers. (Govt. of Philippines, 8 Mar 2018)

54,000 evacuees have returned home after the alert for the Mayon volcano was reduced to level 3. However, volcanic-related activity is ongoing including earthquakes, sporadic degassing and lava effusion events. The downgrading of the alert to level 3 will allow many people staying in the 61 evacuation centres to return home. However, approximately 11,000 people will have to remain in the centres and will not be able to leave until the alert is reduced further to a level 2. (OCHA, 12 Mar 2018).

As of 25 March, alert level remains at level 3 with 6 km radius of Permanent Dangers Zone. A total of 1,300 families / 5,016 persons are currently in 9 evacuation centers; while 330 families / 1,412 persons are staying with families/friends (AHA Centre, 25 Mar 2018). On 3 April, the government lowered its Alert Level to Level 2, and reported the return of all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their respective places of origin (Gov't of Philippines, 3 Apr 2018).