OCD: No direct damage so far from Mayon’s phreatic eruption

LEGAZPI CITY – The Office of Civil Defense in Bicol (OCD-5) on Monday said no direct damage was reported by local government units after Mayon Volcano’s phreatic eruption on Sunday afternoon.

In an interview, Gremil Alexis Naz, OCD Bicol spokesperson, said they are now monitoring and coordinating with the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) and seven LGUs for possible needed support.

“No other related incidents were reported as of Monday to our office. We continue to coordinate with other government agencies, particularly with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) as to the status of Mayon Volcano,” he said.

Phivolcs reported a “phreatic eruption from the Mayon Volcano summit” at 4:37 p.m. Sunday, which lasted 4 minutes and 9 seconds, which generated a booming sound, rockfall, pyroclastic density currents, and a 1,200 meter-tall plume that drifted to the southwest.

Phreatic or steam-driven eruptions are sudden outbursts and short-lived events and happen without warning or any precursors, according to Phivolcs. It happens when hot materials inside the volcano come into contact with water.

To promote public safety and maintain zero casualties, the Albay Provincial Government has issued an advisory prohibiting human activities inside the permanent danger zone of Mayon Volcano.

“Due to the continuous hazard of Mayon Volcano that may lead to threats of phreatic eruption, rock fall, wall collapse and pyroclastic density current. The City and Municipal DRRMOs (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices) should maintain vigilance in their respective areas to prevent entry inside the permanent danger zone,” the advisory said.

The governor also reminded the public to use a face mask and or damp cloth to cover the nose and mouth when ash fall happens. Mayon Volcano has been under Alert Level 2 (decreased unrest) since December 8, 2023.

Phivolcs also reminded aviation authorities to advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit, as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol (DSWD-5) has prepared 119,319 family food packs (FFPs) and 37,729 essential non-food relief items strategically stockpiled in warehouses and prepositioning sites across Bicol Region in preparation for possible relief augmentation. (PNA)