Friday 21 February 2020
Home      All news      Contact us     
reliefweb - 1 month ago

Philippines: “Chaotic and serious”: An eyewitness account from the Philippines’ Taal Volcano disaster

Source: European Commission s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Philippines
The Taal volcano, the second most active volcano in the Philippines, sits just 60 kilometers from the capital of Manila on the island of Luzon. It began erupting on 12 January, shooting ash and pebbles into the air, blanketing the larger Manila area in smoke and forcing the international airport to close. The area around the volcano, considered a volcanic danger zone, is home over 450,000 residents. Tens of thousands of people have already fled to temporary evacuation centers set up by the authorities. Arlynn Aquino who heads the EU’s humanitarian office in the Philippines, is monitoring the situation on the ground in Luzon. Below are a few of her impressions. What is the situation like now? I have just reached Ground Zero: the Municipality of Agoncillo in the province of Batangas, where the Taal Volcano is located. The entire population has been evacuated, and the town is cordoned off by police and military by orders from the municipal government. No one is allowed to enter - even media or residents - but I was able to get inside after obtaining a special permit. Part of the town is by a lake from which you can see the volcano sending a huge plume of ash into the sky. People are fleeing in large numbers: authorities have told me that they have evacuated about 40,000 people from Agoncillo, but still need to rescue more people residing in the remoter villages. What damage have you seen to houses and infrastructure? Agoncillo is a ghost town and the entire area is covered with ash. Many houses and public facilities have been damaged. The rising of magma is causing cracks in roads and some fissures are over a metre deep. Animals - dogs, pigs, chicken and donkeys - are left in the area to die. What are the most immediate needs of the many displaced? The situation is chaotic and serious. I visited two evacuation centers, altogether housing 8,300 people. Men, women, babies, elderly and sickly – they all sleep on the floor. The sites are littered with trash. There is an urgent need for food, mats and mattresses, water and hygiene kits and other things. There is a doctor on site, but there is an overall lack of medical assi one man told me that one person died at one of the evacuation sites the previous day. Meanwhile, health workers in the area told me that they anticipate increasing needs. What can the EU do to help? We are monitoring the situation along with our humanitarian partners. Unlike many other parts of the Philippines, this province is not used to disaster response, and struggle to coordinate the rescue and response efforts. This disaster will also require long-time support in terms of rebuilding homes and livelihoods, and we stand ready should those needs require additional assistance.


Latest News
Hashtags:   

Philippines

 | 

“Chaotic

 | 

serious”

 | 

eyewitness

 | 

account

 | 

Philippines

 | 

Volcano

 | 

disaster

 | 
Most Popular (6 hours)

Most Popular (24 hours)

Most Popular (a week)

Sources