ASSISTANCE. Residents of Barangay Puting Sapa in Juban, Sorsogon who fled due to the phreatic explosions of Bulusan Volcano started to return home on Tuesday (June 14, 2022). Government disaster agencies and the provincial government of Sorsogon have spent some P18.7 million in assistance to the affected villagers since the eruptive activities started last June 5, the Office of Civil Defense said. (Photo from the Juban Info News Facebook Page)

LEGAZPI CITY – Government disaster agencies and the provincial government of Sorsogon have shelled out some PHP18.7 million in assistance to the people affected by Bulusan Volcano's eruptive activities starting on June 5, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) reported on Tuesday.

Alexis Gremil Naz, OCD-5 spokesperson, in an interview said the assistance was extended in the form of family food packs, medicine, and medical supplies such as face masks, and hygiene kits, and distributed to different evacuation centers in the province.

"The assistance given by the different government agencies was prioritized to the affected families, particularly the families that were evacuated," Naz said.

He said OCD assistance records indicate that the aid providers included the Department of Social Welfare Development-Bicol, Department of Health-5, and other national government agencies, aside from the provincial government and a non-government organization, which gave PHP1 million.

Based on a report, those affected by the ongoing volcanic activities are the towns of Juban, Irosin, and Bulusan.

Naz said "10,707 families or 44,706 individuals were affected by the ashfall from 31 barangays."

Meanwhile, the residents of Barangay Puting Sapa in Juban who evacuated due to the phreatic explosions of Mt. Bulusan started to back to their homes on Tuesday.

Juban Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council spokesperson Arian Aguallo said in a phone interview that some 148 families or 489 persons started to decamp from the evacuation centers in Barangays Tughan and North Poblacion after staying there for four days.

Aguallo said they decided to send home the evacuees after it was observed that abnormal activities of the volcano have subsided and clearing operations in their village have been completed.

However, he said “because Bulusan is still abnormal (Alert Level 1), we reminded them to be very vigilant and be ready to evacuate once the condition turns worse again.”

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that the number of volcanic earthquakes dropped from 106 on Sunday to 69 on Tuesday.

“Alert Level 1 status remains in effect over Bulusan as the volcano is still in a state of hydrothermal unrest. Local government units and the public are reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) must be strictly prohibited and that vigilance in the 2-kilometer Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeast sector must be exercised due to the increased possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions that can occur without warning,” Phivolcs said. (With report from Samuel Toledo/PNA)