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Salceda: Heightened Mayon volcanic activity means evacuation within 7-8km danger zone should be ready; Full evacuation of 30k more evacuees could take days without more vehicles ready

July 3rd, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that based on the latest advisory of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, indicating “heightened activity” by Mayon Volcano, residents in the 7 to 8-kilometer danger zone should be prepared to evacuate “at a moment’s notice” and that “mobility assets should be ready as this could take days to complete.”

“At a moment’s notice, at least 8,000 additional families or 30,000 individuals will need to be evacuated. Again, that’s on top of the ones we already evacuated. You could imagine the number of mobility assets we will need to move them.”

“Even with the mobility assets already deployed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to support evacuation, we estimate it will take 3 and a half days, given time-and-motion calculations,” Salceda said.

“So, we need all the vehicles we can prepare. My office is prepared to support the needs of local government units, and I have commitments from private sector members, including those in the construction and transport sectors, to provide transportation aid.”

“We need everything we can get, so right now, my appeal to government agencies is to help us prepare the needed mobility assets. Trucks, vans, buses – everything we can use to safely convey evacuees,” Salceda said.

Salceda also recalled that “with enough mobility, its possible to move that number of evacuees during the same day. During my time as governor, in 2010, we were able to move evacuees within an afternoon. By 6 pm, evacuation was complete. We had to requisition the vehicles that we can.”

“We have to do it very quickly because ashfall as a situation can develop rapidly, and you have hours, not days, to move people.”

Salceda also reiterated his appreciation for efforts by the National Government to prepare food aid for an increase in evacuees.

“I reiterate my thanks to the President and his team for their quick response to our needs for food assistance and economic support. At least we will not have to worry about how to feed evacuees when we have to evacuate more,” Salceda said.

“But, once it becomes necessary, we won’t have days to move evacuees. We will have mere hours.”

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