KANLAON ERUPTION: Forced evacuations in La Castellana due to lahar

Rainfall washed away ashes and debris of rocks towards the road of Barangay Bi-ak na Bato, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, on Wednesday, June 5, after the eruption of Kanlaon Volcano. (Photo courtesy of MJ Guardiano)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino and Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Forced evacuations were imposed in some sitios of Barangay Bi-ak na Bato, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, after rainfall washed away debris such as ashes and rocks from the Kanlaon Volcano eruption in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental.

In a Facebook live video, Mayor Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan, who visited the area, showed the impassable roads due to the mudflow.

Clearing operations are ongoing. Mangilimutan assessed the situation and confirmed the forced evacuation in some sitios of Barangay Biak na Bato.

Videos and photos posted online showed mudflows in rivers, falls, and highways in Barangay Biak na Bato leading to Canlaon City. Mudflows were also seen in the Intiguawan River in Barangay Guinpanaan, Moises Padilla town.

Mangilimutan personally urged residents to go to evacuation centers. Barangay Captain Marvin Escander of Cabacungan village also urged residents in mudflow-prone areas to evacuate.

Andylin Quintia, resident volcanologist of Phivolcs, stated that heavy rains washed out volcanic debris from Kanlaon Volcano, resulting in muddy stream flows. She clarified that it is not lava but rainwater mixed with ash, similar to lahar.

Quintia urged residents to be cautious due to the unknown density and volume of the mudflow.

Mangilimutan advised residents of Barangays Masulog and Cabagna-an, and those near rivers, to remain vigilant.

Residents of Balasan Purok 5, Barangay Cabacungan, were also advised to seek temporary shelter at Cabacungan Elementary School and Cabacungan National High School due to the mudflow.

La Castellana is the most severely affected area, impacting more than 800 individuals.

Mangilimutan issued an executive order suspending work in all government offices and agencies in the town, except those providing essential services such as health and disaster response.

Private organizations are encouraged to suspend work at their discretion while the town is under a state of calamity.

Canlaon Mayor Jose Cardenas visited La Castellana and met with Mangilimutan following the incident.

Mudflows were also reported in Barangay Guinpanaan, Moises Padilla, and Barangay Masulog, Canlaon City.

Kanlaon Volcano erupted on Monday night, nearly seven years after its last eruption in December 2017, displacing thousands of people in Negros Island.

Mayor Cardenas lifted the suspension of work in government and private offices in Canlaon City on June 5, stating that the situation has been assessed as safe for resumption.

However, entrance to Kanlaon’s four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone remains strictly prohibited.

ASSISTANCE

House Speaker Martin Romualdez announced on Tuesday that P40 million worth of government aid will be extended to residents affected by the eruption in Negros Island.

The allocation includes P20 million each under the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Romualdez stated that affected residents in the first district of Negros Oriental and the fourth district of Negros Occidental will each receive P10 million from DSWD’s AKAP and P10 million from DOLE’s TUPAD.

Additionally, P4 million worth of food packs from the Speaker’s Disaster Assistance Fund are being prepared for the eruption victims.

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