Ashfall, sulfurous odor felt in Negros, Bacolod LGUs  

La Castellana Mayor Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan (in black) visits evacuees at an  evacuation center Monday night.* 

Residents in  local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental have been affected by the coarse ashfall and sulfurous smell after the “explosive eruption” of Mt. Kanlaon Monday night, a report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on Tuesday, June 4,  showed. 

Ashfall was observed in seven  LGUs, and sulfurous odor in eight localities, it added.  

Coarse ashfall was experienced in  Bago City, Pontevedra,  San Carlos City, La Castellana. La Carlota City ,   Valladolid and  San Enrique. 

 Areas that experienced sulfurous odor, similar to rotten eggs, were Bacolod  City,  Murcia, La Castellana, Valladolid,  Bago, San Enrique and Binalbagan.  

In Bacolod City  at least  24 barangays smelled the sulfurous odor, based on the report of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMO). 

The DRRMC of Barangay Taculing distributed face masks after the fumes were reported in their area Monday night. 

Based on reports from the affected LGUs, local health authorities continue to monitor residents with respiratory illnesses who may be affected by the ashfall and volcanic fumes. 

In Bago City, just south of Bacolod, Mayor Nicholas Yulo, in a radio interview, said the sulfuric smell reached the city proper but dissipated by Tuesday morning, while in La Carlota City, Mayor Rex Jalando-on noted that the ashfall had also stopped around the same time. 

Jalando-on said a resident with a respiratory condition was brought to a hospital while some visited the health center. 

“There are no critical cases. We already advised them to wear masks immediately,” he added. 

The mayor said about 57 families are in three evacuation centers in La Carlota City. 

Up north in San Carlos City, Mayor Renato Gustilo advised residents of the mandatory use of face masks after the eruption of Mt. Kanlaon. 

“We urge all residents to take precautionary measures to protect your health and well-being. As a safety protocol, it is now mandatory for all individuals to wear face masks whenever venturing outside,” he added. 

In affected areas, residents have been advised to stay indoors but maintain adequate ventilation or avoid going out as sulfur may cause a stinging sensation to the eyes and blurring of vision could lead to accidents. 

Wearing face masks is also encouraged, and seeking consultation is advised for individuals with difficulty breathing, progressing cough, or itchy throat. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) has advised residents affected by the eruption to protect themselves from the ashfall and noxious gases as these pose health risks. 

The DOH said doors and windows must be closed and wet curtains or clothes may be used to cover any gaps where ash and gases could enter. 

Proper use of face masks and covering the nose and mouth with a wet cloth could provide additional protection. 

It advised persons with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to ensure adequate supplies of inhaler medicines and use them as directed by the doctor. 

For eye protection, safety goggles may be worn to keep ashes and dust away from the eyes. Wearing contact lenses is not advised and use eyeglasses in the meantime. In case of irritation, rinse the eyes with lukewarm water and avoid rubbing them. 

For food safety, proper and thorough hand washing before cooking and eating is advised. 

Fruits and vegetables should be cleaned with running water. 

In case of difficulty in breathing, persistent eye problems, stomach aches, and bowel movement problems, the DOH advised to consult a doctor. 

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said nearby hospitals have been placed on Code White, meaning all hospital personnel, including surgeons and nurses, are ready to respond to emergencies. 

“Since yesterday, the DOH Western Visayas Center for Health Development has been sending face masks, safety goggles, hygiene kits, jerry water cans, and disaster relief tents to affected areas near Kanlaon Volcano,” he said. 

“Let us all be careful and listen to the advice of our local government officials”, he added. 

Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday said he has prepared PHP4 million worth of food packs from the Speaker’s Disaster Assistance Fund for affected residents. 

“These funds will provide much-needed support to affected residents in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, ensuring they have the resources to cope with the disruptions caused by the eruption of Kanlaon Volcano,” he said in a news release.*PNA  

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