The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) pushed for the relocation of thousands of families who live along the lahar and mudflow path around Mayon Volcano.
The recommendation followed Phivolcs’ task force discovery that lahar flow poses great danger to residents the villages of Travesia, San Francisco and San Rafael, in Guinobatan town; Tumpa in Camalig town; Busay in Daraga; as well as Bantayan and Quinastillohan village, in Tabaco City.
The risk assessment the institute conducted aimed to ascertain the magnitude of lahar and volcanic debris that may cascade down Mayon’s slopes, which were loosed after taking beating from the three typhoons that severely impacted the Bicol region.
Resident volcanologist, Paul Alanis, said that lahar flow or flooding may ruin hundreds of houses, farms and other infrastructure, as well as kill more people in Albay.
The assessment also showed that as of March 2018—when Mayon last erupted—the volcano has emitted 65 million cubic meters of lahar and boulders which are still deposited in its slopes.
Of 171 villages at risk, varying numbers may be affected for lahar, lava flow or pyroclastic blasts. Meanwhile, 31 villages in the towns of Malilipot, Guinobatan, Camalig, Bacacay and Sto. Domingo, as well as cities of Tabaco and Legazpi, are within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone.
Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office head, reported that officials of the affected towns agreed to the relocation plan, even those that were not included in the relocation list compiled by Phivolcs.