Phivolcs warns of more ‘explosive events’ at Kanlaon

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Phivolcs warns of more �explosive events� at Kanlaon
A woman stands on a lot near her house at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon in La Castellana, Negros Occidental province yesterday, a day after the volcano erupted. Top photo shows a parked vehicle covered in volcanic ash in La Castellana.

MANILA, Philippines — More explosive events may follow the eruption at Kanlaon Volcano, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned yesterday.

“Whatever happens, phreatic or similar explosive events are likely. That is the character of Kanlaon. More likely than not, there will be another one. It can happen any time. As long as there is unrest, there will be anomalies in the volcano,” Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Ma. Antonia Bornas said at a press briefing.

Kanlaon’s minor eruption lasted six minutes and produced five-kilometer plumes at 6:51 p.m. on Monday.
Phivolcs said there has been a total of two volcanic tectonic earthquakes and 81 volcanic earthquakes prior to and following the eruption.

Phivolcs has raised the alert level of Kanlaon Volcano from level 1 (abnormal) to alert level 2 (increasing unrest) after an explosive eruption on Monday night.

Phivolcs said the eruption produced a voluminous and incandescent plume that rapidly rose to 5,000 meters above the vent.

According to Phivolcs, coarse ashfall and sulfurous odors have been reported in communities on western slopes of the volcano. 

“As of present, only two weak volcanic earthquakes have been recorded. Kanlaon has been exhibiting above background earthquake activity for the past month and has been degassing relatively anomalous sulfur dioxide (SO2) that has averaged approximately 1,273 tons per day for the year,” it added. 

Phivolcs said there should be strict prohibition in the entry into the four-kilometer permanent danger zone.

Cancelled flights

Some 74 domestic flights in and out of Manila and other domestic hubs were cancelled due to Mt. Kanlaon eruption, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Manila International Airport Authority announced yesterday.

CAAP issued Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) B1995/24 revising B1989/24 as the alert level was raised from alert level 1 to alert level 2, with vertical extent of volcanic ash cloud of 1640 ft or 5000 meters.

CAAP said on Tuesday that all morning flights (inbound and outbound) at Bacolod-Silay Airport were canceled.

Meanwhile, CAAP information officer Karen Villanda said flight operations at Iloilo Airport have resumed as of 11:00 a.m. yesterday. Incoming flights began landing and airlines have been facilitating check-in and possible flight schedule adjustments, as well as recovery flights.

Displaced families

Some 170 families or 796 individuals have been pre-emptively evacuated due to Kanlaon’s increased volcanic activity in Negros, according to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

The OCD said at least 149 families or 685 persons had to be brought to various evacuation centers, while the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) said some 21 families or 111 persons who were also affected were served outside evacuation facilities. So far, Mount Kanlaon’s increased activity has affected eight barangays, six in Western Visayas and two in Central Visayas.

The military’s Visayas Command said the military has intensified its preparations for humanitarian assistance and disaster response, while the Philippine National Police has readied its disaster response teams to assist residents displaced by the eruption. The Philippine Coast Guard also announced that PCG units have been placed on alert and would be immediately dispatched to provide aid.

In Negros Island, a total of 368 affected families – composed of 1,491 individuals in 84 barangays of 10 local government units – are staying in various evacuation centers. — Bella Cariaso, Rudy Santos, Mayen Jaymalin, Delon Porcalla, Gilbert Bayoran, Michael Punongbayan, Emmanuel Tupas, Rhodina Villanueva, Evelyn Macairan, Helen Flores

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