Capitol readies La Castellana for possible Kanlaon eruption

THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is preparing La Castellana town for a possible eruption of Mount Kanlaon.

Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division, met on Monday, December 19, with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council led by Mayor Rhumyla Mangilimutan and the barangay captains of the town’s 13 villages.

Mount Kanlaon, which straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, remained on Alert Level 2, or moderate level of unrest.

Caelian said they laid down the evacuation plan should the status of Mount Kanlaon be elevated to Alert Level 3, Alert Level 4, and Alert Level 5.

“We have to be ready with their preparedness evacuation plan for Mount Kanlaon,” he said.

Five of the 13 barangays in La Castellana are within the four-kilometer danger zone.

Under Alert Level 3, five of these barangays are highly susceptible to lava, Caelian said, adding residents of these villages will be evacuated first.

The remaining barangays, which are within the seven to 12-kilometer danger zone, will be evacuated under Alert 4, he said.

If on Alert Level 5, it means that eruption is in progress, Caelian added.

He said three main evacuation centers were set up outside the danger zone, which are 15 to 16 kilometers away from the danger zone.

Caelian said the Capitol is preparing La Castellana due to its proximity to the active volcano, although there are also other localities within the danger zone.

For the cities of La Carlota and Bago, two barangays are within the four-kilometer zone while one village in San Carlos City is under the danger zone.

One volcanic quake

Meanwhile, the Kanlaon Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded one volcanic earthquake over the past 24 hours.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said that degassing at the active vents could not be observed due to thick clouds covering the summit.

Ground deformation data from continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements indicate slight inflation of the edifice since December 2015 while sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 687 tonnes a day on December 14.

Phivolcs reminded the local government units and the public that entry into the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions while civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.
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