Villagers near Mayon feel earth trembling, hear rumbling sound

September 19, 2014 10:27 am 

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 18 (PNA) -– Sixty-six-year-old Santiago Apuyan, a father of five and resident of Barangay Mabinit at the foot of Mayon in this city, and his neighbors said they have constantly felt the earth trembling accompanied by a roaring sound for the past few days.

Exactly 200 years after the deadly explosion of the Mayon volcano in 1814, not only the Mabinit folk but also other Albayanos have expressed apprehension over the present condition of the temperamental volcano.

On alert level 3 status since Monday night, the magnificent beauty has been restive and villagers are preparing for its impending eruption.

Their conclusion is not without any basis.

Scientifically, the seismic network of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded 142 volcanic earthquakes and 251 rockfall events during the past 24-hour observation period.

Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta said moderate emission of white steam plumes was observed drifting south-southwest and that sulfur dioxide flux was measured at an average of 757 tons/day on Wednesday.

He added that ground deformation data showed inflationary behavior.

“All the above data indicate that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma,” the volcanologist added.

Villagers at the foot of Mayon said they have to heed the call of authorities to temporarily leave their place.

“Daragang Magayon is in her tantrums again, which means, we have to move out from her foot for our safety. Day or night time, we’re experiencing earth movement with strong rumbling sound,” Santiago, a farmer, said.

When visited by the PNA on Wednesday afternnon, he was preparing to take his family to safe grounds after Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda ordered forced evacuation of residents within the PDZ after the Phivolcs raised the alert status of Mayon volcano from level 2 to level 3 on Monday night.

About 6,809 families or 31,903 persons have been evacuated in four municipalities and two cities.

The forced evacuation was carried out by members of the Philippine Army in Albay led by Col. Raul Farnacio and the Philippine National Police in the province headed by provincial director Senior Supt. Marlo Meneses.

“We need to ensure the safety of the people before the volcano erupts. We don’t want any single precious life to be endangered,” Salceda said.

For his part, Laguerta said, “We want the people living within the 6-km PDZ and 7-8-km extended danger zone to be moved out from their houses for safety as pyroclastic flow is very dangerous. No one survives from pyroclastic materials once ejected and these hit any living thing.”

He said the pyroclastic flow is about 1,100 degrees Celsius in temperature though when ejected, it is about 500 degrees Celsius and all living things along is way will be lifeless.

“The travel time is greater than 60 kms per hour down slope, so we don’t want the repetition of 1993 incident wherein 77 farmers were roasted alive,” the volcanologist said.

The rolling incandescent rockfall seen within the uppermost part of the Bonga Gully Wednesday night indicates that the summit lava dome is breaching the crater in its southeastern side.

Alert Level 3, Laguerta said, means magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks.(PNA)

LAP/FGS/RBB/CBD/

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