The Philippines is bracing for a three-month long emergency in the areas around the Mount Mayon volcano in the central Albay province, the country’s disaster agency said on Friday, Reuters reported. The volcano has led to the evacuation of at least 81,000 people so far, as an eruption seems imminent.
“We’re gearing up for three months of emergency,” Romina Marasigan, spokesperson of the disaster agency said. “Displaced families may need to stay in evacuation centres for that long.”
Sixty-nine temporary shelters are overcrowded. While food supplies are adequate, there are rising concerns about health and hygiene conditions in these camps. There is a paucity of toilets. “The province is doing everything to close the gaps for these toilet facilities,” said Nestor Santiago, assistant secretary at the Health Ministry.
Health workers are giving free check-ups and medicine to elderly women and children in the camps.
Meanwhile, Mount Mayon, which remained at the Level 4 alert on Friday, continues to spew lava, ash and other super-heated material. Reuters quoted unidentified volcanologists saying that there were seven more episodes of intense lava fountains at the crater over 21 hours since Thursday morning.