Article by Razel Suansing
Fiery explosions of lava have destroyed the Mayon Volcano’s popular cone shape facade. The Mayon Volcano, located in Legazpi, Albay and praised for its perfect volcanic cone because of the symmetry of its shape. The eruption should not come as a surprise because the Mayon Volcano has been known to be an active volcano. In the last twenty five years, the Mayon Volcano has had around fifteen eruptive periods.
Most recently, on the 16th of January, the province of Albay was placed under a state of calamity due to the threat of a hazardous eruption from the Mayon Volcano. As of January 25, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) states that “Alert Level 4 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano. The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the eight (8) kilometer-radius danger zone, and to be additionally vigilant against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden stream flows along channels draining the edifice”. PHIVOLCS has also advised against flying around the area. They state that “civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft”. Due to this threat, “the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said more than 4,300 residents within the volcano’s 7-kilometer radius have evacuated and sought shelter in schools” (CNN Philippines). It has been said that “at least 6,459 families or 24,752 people from 29 barangays in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao, and the towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot. They are currently housed in 153 classrooms of the Department of Education” (Rappler). Classes have also seen been suspended due to this hazard. According to CNN Philippines, “classes from kinder to senior high school in all public and private schools in the province have been suspended starting Monday. Solidum said residents have been asked to use face masks and damp cloths as protection from the ashfall”.
Sophomore Kaye O. stresses that distance should not be a reason for ignorance. She states that “we are fortunate enough to not live within the area, but we must do more to help those affected by this untimely catastrophe”.
Sophomore Andrea B., on the other hand, is in a state of shock because of the unexpectedness of this eruption. “I have grown up learning about ‘bulkang’ Mayon in the classroom. It has always been notable for its shape and majesty, yet it shocks me that this tourist attraction has now become a site of hazard”.
As students unaffected by the tragedy, bearcats must do their part in supporting those affected by this eruption. This can be done by donating or volunteering in one of the following organizations: Department of Social Welfare and Development, Office of the Vice President, Philippine Red Cross, Joseph Feeding Mission, and AkBayanihan Foundation (https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/194472-reliefph-help-affected-mayon-volcano).