LEGAZPI CITY -- Disaster authorities have started to evacuate over 100,000 persons living in lahar-prone areas across the province on Sunday in anticipation of heavy rains spawned by Typhoon Tisoy, which is expected to hit the Bicol Region on Monday, the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said.
At the PDRRMC meeting, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara directed the 18 local disaster councils to mobilize evacuation procedures which started at 1 p.m. Sunday until 1 p.m. Monday.
The directive calls for a mandatory evacuation of all residents living along low lying areas, especially those in the river channels that connect to Mayon Volcano slopes where huge volumes of lahar are deposited, Bichara said.
“We have to evacuate them and for those (residents) who are stubborn, I have directed the police to forcibly bring them to the nearest evacuation camps,” he said,
Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) chief, explained that over 19 million cubic meters of lahar are deposited in various slopes surrounding the 2,500-meter high volcano.
“You can just imagine the impact and the force when intense rains induce these volcanic materials to cascade down, triggering a collapse or breached river channels. This happened during Super Typhoon Reming in 2006,” Daep said.
Thousands of villagers were killed, houses were destroyed and buried when lahar and mudflows swept villages in several towns and cities around the volcano as “Reming” battered the province in 2006.
APSEMO data indicate that 58,614 families or 307,493 persons living in 484 villages in the 15 towns and three cities are at risk due to flooding.
Of this figure, 25,770 families or 106,211 persons are at risk of lahar and mudflows from Mayon Volcano. (PNA)