Phivolcs: Kanlaon highly dangerous, hope for best but prepare for worst  

Kanlaon Volcano as seen during an aerial survey on Monday, June 10.*Richard Malihan photo

“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” 

That was the advice of Teresito C. Bacolcol, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director, at a briefing on the current restive state of Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Island that remains at Alert Level 2. 

Bacolcol and Ma. Antonia Bornas, Phivolcs chief science research specialist, briefed Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on the state of the volcano, which erupted on June 3, at the Capitol in Bacolod City Monday afternoon. 

Kanlaon remains highly dangerous with a very high possibility    of follow up    phreatic and magmatic eruptions, Bornas said. 

She pointed out that the volcano is exhibiting significant eruption parameters.

The volcano used   to emit less than 300 tons of sulfur dioxide a day but hit   4,397 tons on June 8, she said.  The number dropped to 3,304 tons on Sunday, June 9, Bornas added. 

If the sulfur dioxide emissions do not drop we have to be prepared, she added. 

Kanlaon also used to only have between 0 to 5 volcanic earthquakes a day that have since increased, she also said.

She said if monitoring parameters are sustained, phreatic and short-lived explosive eruptions may subsequently occur and produce small-magnitude hazards that will endanger areas within the 4-Kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ). Unrest is likely caused by the hydrothermal processes driven by magmatic degassing deep within the volcanic edifice, she said. 

Bornas said Kanlaon is closely being monitored for distinct precursor signs of an eruption.  

Alert Level 2 will be maintained until such time that monitoring parameters significantly change, she said. 

Bornas said strict prohibition from the 4-Kilometer Radius PDZ is recommended at Alert Level 2.  

Gov . Eugenio Jose Lacson with Teresito C. Bacolcol, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director, and Ma. Antonia Bornas, Phivolcs chief science research specialist, (l-r) who briefed him on the status of Kanlaon Volcano*Richard Malihan photo

La Castellana Mayor Rhummyla Mangilimutan said their records indicate that there were 200 families with about 800 members   living within the PDZ. 

Evacuation of people residing in the PDZ have already been conducted but they are validating if there are still people living in the area, she said.

Barangays with areas within Kanlaon’s PDZ are: Ara-al and Yubo, La Carlota City; Sag-ang, Mansalanao, Cabagnaan and Biaknabato, La Castellana; Minoyan, Murcia; and  Masolog, Pula and Lumapao, Canlaon City and; Codcod, San Carlos City, Phivolcs said. 

Local government units, disaster officials and the general public are urged to avoid the PDZ, as the chances of similar explosive eruptions occurring are significant, thus increasing the threat of volcanic hazards such as PDCs and ballistic projectiles within the PDZ, Bornas said.

Communities living beside river systems on the southern and western slopes of the volcano, especially those that have already experienced lahars and muddy stream flows, are advised to take precautionary measures, she also said.

Phivolcs has identified lahar hazard zones where residents must take precautions when it rains, Bornas said.

Lahar spewed by the volcano is dangerous and deadly because it is hot and its numerous sediment contents could include large stones and trees, she said. 

She also said lahar spills usually harden like cement. 

Their advise to the LGUs is to have standby equipment like backhoes and dumptrucks to immediately clear thoroughfares of lahar before it hardens, she added.

Mangilimutan said they have been evacuating residents living in the path of possible lahar spills.

La Castellana had 1,314 families or 4,753 evacuees from 9 barangays on Monday, she said. 

The governor said that the evacuees will have to stay in the evacuation centers until they are advised by the experts that it is safe to go home. 

They will make sure they   can provide the evacuees   with their needs, he said. 

“We should not rush things and encourage evacuees to go home,” Lacson said.* 

Secured By miniOrangeSecured By miniOrange