Cloud seeding halted amid lahar danger: guv 

Lahar  flow in La Castellana, Negros Occidental.*Richard Malihan photo   

Long awaited cloud seeding to induce rain in drought-hit Negros Occidental was halted amid fears that it could trigger more lahar flow from Kanlaon Volcano, which could endanger residents. 

Heavy rains since Kanlaon Volcano erupted on June 3 have triggered lahar flow that have caused the forced evacuation of thousands of La Castellana town residents. 

About 60 families were evacuated from Barangay Biak na Bato as heavy rain poured late Tuesday, Mayor Rhummyla Nicor Mangilimutan said. 

“We conducted forced evacuations in critical areas where some residents earlier refused to evacuate”, Mangilimutan said.     

Lacson said cloud seeding will be suspended in Negros but will continue in Panay. 

Cloud seeding in Negros and Panay islands   started Tuesday, Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) president, said earlier. 

A UNIFED press release said the rain experienced in Bacolod on Tuesday was induced through a cloud-seeding operation. 

However, Lamata on Wednesday clarified that he was informed that the scheduled cloud seeding in Negros on Tuesday did not take place and the rain in Bacolod was not induced by cloud seeding. 

He also said a video of cloud seeding operations released Tuesday by UNIFED was not over Negros Occidental but in Bohol. 

Lacson said many sugar farmers still want more rain to help save their crops. 

But after what happened in La Castellana, in Biak na Bato in particular, there is still a tendency for lahar flow especially during heavy rain that is why we decided to put cloud seeding in Negros Occidental on hold, Lacson said. 

He said they will be guided by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on when to resume cloud seeding. 

“We will have to make do with natural rains that is coming in already. All we wanted to do was to intensify the rain but unfortunately Mt. Kanlaon erupted,” Lacson said. 

The cloud seeding operations are being conducted by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management.* 

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