4 TOWNS AFFECTED AS SORSOGON'S MT. BULUSAN SPEWS ASH

[PHOTO AT LEFT - MT. BULUSAN VOLCANO]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 8, 2010 (STAR) The Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon province spewed ash Saturday morning, affecting four towns, authorities said.

While the approximately 600-meter ash column emanating from the crater implies volcanic activity, which may indicate a larger eruption, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology's senior science research specialist Jack Puertollano told GMANews.TV that as of 9 a.m., there was no danger of eruption yet.

"The drift of ash and steam is in the west, southwest direction, reaching around three kilometers down the slope," he said in Filipino, adding that this did not reach populated areas.

The ash ejection was observed at 8:11 am on Saturday, he said.

4 towns affected

A later report from the the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the ash spewed by the volcano fell on at least four towns, but disaster management officials are preparing contingency plans for at least six towns.

It said local and national agencies are coordinating their plans to protect the residents there.

"Six municipalities (Juban, Irosin, Casiguran, Gubat, Barcelona and Busulan) covering about 70 barangays are likely to be affected," the NDRRMC said in its update.

It said the Office of the Civil Defense has issued a volcano advisory to its Bicol office for preparedness measures to be undertaken.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, has alerted its regional office in Bicol to "respond to any eventuality," NDRRMC said.

Citing data from Phivolcs, the NDRRMC said Bulusan ejected a light-gray steam and ash column that rose 600 meters above the crater.

An initial Phivolcs field investigation showed the ash fell on areas six to 10 km northwest of the crater.

Some of the affected areas are Rangas, Aniog, Cogon and Juban proper in Juban town; Casiguran proper and San Antonio in Casiguran town.

2007 eruption

Mount Bulusan has been on Alert Level 1 since 2007, when the volcano last erupted on July 31 at approximately 9:37 a.m., spewing ash up to six kilometers high for about twenty minutes. [See story, Sorsogon residents told: Avoid Bulusan danger zone]

Ash fall covered the villages of Cogon, Gulang-Gulang, Bolos, Monbon and Gabao in Irosin town, and Puting Sapa, Sangkayon and Buraburan in Juban town, but there were no casualties, and no evacuation was necessary.

The volcano forms part of the Bicol Volcanic Chain which stretches from Camarines Norte in the north to Sorsogon in the south.

The earliest recorded eruption of Bulusan Volcano was in 1852.

A total of 60 barangays in six municipalities (Barcelona, Bulusan, Casiguran, Gubat, Irosin and Juban) were covered by the Bulusan Volcano hazard zones established by Phivolcs. These barangays lie within the 4-10 km radius from the volcano's summit.

After the Saturday morning ash explosion, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. reminded residents of the 4-km permanent danger zone (PDZ) around the volcano and advised residents to protect themselves from ash fall by shielding their faces with handkerchiefs or towels. — Carmela Lapeña/LBG, GMANews.TV


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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