Mon, December 21, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific

Philippine steps up measures to secure "zero casualty" in Mayon volcano eruption

2009-12-21 11:48:42 GMT2009-12-21 19:48:42 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Glowing lava cascades down the slopes of the Mayo vocalno in Albay province, the Philippines, on Dec. 20, 2009. The possibility of hazardous volcanic eruption is high, the government warned as it called for the evacuation of residents living near the foot of the restive Mayon Volcano. Relief officials said more than 40,000 people have already moved to 25 evacuation centers in eight municipalities around Mayon. (Xinhua/Jon Fabrigar)

An evacuee cooks food inside a classroom turned into a makeshift evacuation centre for residents living at the slopes of the Mayon Volcano in Legaspi city, about 500 km (310 miles) south of Manila December 21, 2009. The Philippines raised the alert level around the country's most active volcano on Sunday, warning of a possible hazardous eruption within days and extending a "no-go zone" up to 10 km (6 miles). (Reuters Photo)

An evacuee weeps during the wake of her sister who died of a heart attack at a makeshift evacuation centre for residents living at the slopes of the Mayon Volcano in Legaspi city, about 500 km (310 miles) south of Manila December 21, 2009. The Philippines raised the alert level around the country's most active volcano on Sunday, warning of a possible hazardous eruption within days and extending a "no-go zone" up to 10 km (6 miles). (Reuters Photo)

A baby of an evacuee is weighed during a medical check-up by UNICEF at a temporary shelter for residents living at the slopes of the Mayon Volcano in Legaspi city, about 500 km (310 miles) south of Manila December 21, 2009. The Philippines raised the alert level around the country's most active volcano on Sunday, warning of a possible hazardous eruption within days and extending a "no-go zone" up to 10 km (6 miles). (Reuters Photo)

LEGAZPI CITY, the Philippines, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government has stepped up measures to ensure that no one will be at risk in the event that Mayon Volcano erupts.

The country's most active volcano -- which is located in the province of Albay, about 360 km southeast of Manila -- is expected to explode in the next few days.

"We're expecting explosive hazardous eruption within days. The tremors surged dramatically for the past 24-hours," Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum said in a forum held here.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda assured that everything is under control as government agencies and stakeholders are working together to achieve the "zero casualty" target of the national government.

Philippine Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said he has ordered the cancellation of vacation and holidays of all paramedics of the Armed Forces of the Philipines to assist the evacuees.

Capt. Razaleigh Bansawan, spokesman of the Task Force Mayon and of the Army's 901st Brigade, said they have doubled their manpower around the volcano to man checkpoints, conduct patrols and enforce a curfew.

Authorities have been evacuating residents since Tuesday last week, after Phivolcs officials raised the alert level to three. Phivolcs raised Sunday the alert status of Mayon Volcano to Level 4 -- or just one step below the major eruption level after a series of increased volcanic activities were recorded over the past week.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said over 9,000 families have been evacuated from the eight-kilometer danger zone. The evacuees are housed in 25 evacuation centers.

Salceda that his office has ensured that all evacuation centers have enough food and water supply. He has also directed the provincial health staff to monitor the health condition of families evacuated specially those of the children and the elderly.

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