LEGAZPI CITY – More than 30,000 families across the province of Albay were evacuated on Monday in anticipation of heavy rains brought about by Typhoon ‘Tisoy’, local disaster officials said.
Authorities said that since Sunday, a preemptive evacuation has been implemented in several Albay towns, including Guinobatan and Daraga, which are near Mayon Volcano slopes where huge volumes of lahar are deposited.
Residents within six to seven-kilometer danger zone of Mount Mayon were also told to flee their homes.
“Kami po ay naging more particular dito sa Mayon area natin… yung barangay Bujao, Alcala, Matnog, Bañadero at Kilicao, sila po yung vulnerable sa ating lahar at flood-prone area,” said Alex Comia, head of Daraga Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Other families near river channels that connect to Mayon Volcano slopes also voluntarily packed their bags to seek a temporary shelter for their safety.
They do not want a repeat of the disaster that occurred during the onslaught of Typhoon Reming in 2006, which killed more than a thousand and destroyed many houses after lahar and mudflows swept villages on several Albay towns and cities surrounding the volcano.
Aside from the threat of lahar flow, officials from the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) said they are also monitoring possible flooding, landslide and storm surges in the province due to ‘Tisoy’.
Authorities said relief items are being packed and positioned in strategic locations, and free medical assistance and medicines are being prepared for evacuees that may fall ill while their stay in temporary shelters.
“Ang paghahanda sa Tisoy ang unang-unang ginawa namin. Yung family preparedness kasi dalawa ang paghahanda — government at family pero mas importante yung family preparedness kasi una naming pinakita sa kanila ano ba yung hazard na kakaharapin nila,” Cedric Daep, APSEMO chief said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)