Kanlaon can erupt again; mandatory evacuation urged

Mayor Rhumyla Mangilimutan of La Castellana, Negros Occidental wades in the lahar flowing in their town in the aftermath of Kanlaon volcano’s eruption this week. (Mayor Mangilimutan’s FB page)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson emphasized the potential for an eruption of Kanlaon Volcano and urged residents in affected areas to cooperate with forced evacuation if necessary.

Lacson told reporters on Friday that they discussed the current status of Kanlaon Volcano during a coordinating meeting with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and affected local government units (LGUs).

“There are fewer volcanic earthquakes and less sulfur dioxide emissions, but there is still inflation, which indicates a buildup inside the volcano, meaning an eruption is still possible. And we are hoping it will not happen,” Lacson added, citing the OCD report.

When asked about forced evacuations in La Castellana town, Lacson confirmed that “it is now happening in La Castellana.”

“The latest update from Mayor Rhumyla Mangilimutan is that close to 4,000 individuals are in evacuation centers due to forced evacuation caused by lahar flows. If there is a call for forced evacuation, people should cooperate. While it is taxing for the residents to go to the evacuation centers, it is better to coordinate if you are gathered in one place,” he added.

The governor also highlighted the urgent need for water in the affected areas.

“Water is needed more because the source of water has already been affected, not only in La Castellana but also in La Carlota,” he said.

Lacson said to ensure safety, he has requested additional water supplies, even though the provincial government has already provided some.

“But we need more,” he added.

So far, there have been no reports of individuals getting sick. The provincial health office (PHO) has been visiting the area, distributing medicines, and local health personnel have been conducting check-ups on the evacuees.

Lacson said the Kanlaon Volcano eruption has affected two LGUs: La Carlota City, with 34 evacuated families, some of whom are starting to return home; and La Castellana, which has seen thousands of evacuees.

He expressed gratitude that Mayor Mangilimutan reached out to others and noted that other LGUs responded positively.

On Friday, Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, and Victorias City Mayor Javi Benitez brought aid to Mayor Mangilimutan, and together they visited one of the affected barangays.

Additionally, Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson personally joined the city government team to deliver 100 food packs, 20 jelly cases with water, face masks, and 6,000 liters of water via the city’s MRTubig Water Truck on Wednesday, June 5.

The aid from Himamaylan residents was received by Mayor Mangilimutan and Councilor Añejo Nicor at the municipal hall. The MRTubig Truck then headed to Brgy. Sag-ang to bring clean water to the residents.

“Our ‘bayanihan’ spirit will endure any disaster,” said Tongson, adding that extending help to neighboring towns in the Fifth District is a natural response for the city government and Himamaylan residents.

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