Phivolcs confirms lahar flows from Kanlaon, warns residents

NEGROS. Aftermath of the eruption of Kanlaon volcano in Ibid Creek, Tamburong Bridge, Brgy. Biaknabato, So. Calapnagan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
NEGROS. Aftermath of the eruption of Kanlaon volcano in Ibid Creek, Tamburong Bridge, Brgy. Biaknabato, So. Calapnagan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental.Photo from Mt. Kanla-on Natural Park

VARIOUS parts of communities affected by the eruption of Kanlaon Volcano on June 3, 2024 have been experiencing lahar flows amid the occurrence of localized thunderstorms, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

In a statement Thursday, June 6, 2024, the Phivolcs said grey cohesive mud, plant debris and gravel have been deposited by lahars in at least four waterways, the Tamburong Creek, which courses through Biak-na-bato and Calapnagan, La Castellana; Intiguiwan River in Guinpanaan and upstream Baji-Baji Falls in Cabacungan, La Castellana; Padudusan Falls, Masulog, Canlaon City; and the Binalbagan River, which drains the southern flank of Kanlaon Volcano.

“Thunderstorms in the early afternoon today generated volcanic sediment flows or lahars on the southern slopes that were detected by three seismic stations of the Kanlaon Volcano Network (KVN). These lahars began approximately around 1 p.m. (June 5) and lasted 25 minutes based on the seismic record,” it said.

“The lahars were generally channel-confined, but flows along Tamburong Creek overflowed and dumped a few centimeters of deposit on a stretch of the main road in Biak-na-Bato, rendering this impassable to motorists,” it added.

The Phivolcs warned communities as the weather bureau forecast that thunderstorms may continue to bring heavy rains over the Negros Island.

“These rains could generate lahars, muddy stream flows or muddy run-off in the above-mentioned and other rivers draining the southern Kanlaon edifice. Lahars can threaten communities along the middle and lower slopes with inundation, burial and wash out,” it said.

“Phivolcs thus strongly recommends increased vigilance and readiness of communities along rivers draining southern Kanlaon. These communities and local government units are advised to continually monitor weather conditions and take preemptive response measures for their safety from potential lahars,” it added.

Over the past 24 hours, the Phivolcs recorded 27 volcanic earthquakes from Kanlaon, significantly lower than the 53 volcanic earthquakes monitored the day before.

It also emitted a 1,500 meters tall plume that was considered “voluminous.”

The volcano edifice remains inflated.

The Phivolcs has placed Kanlaon under Alert level 2.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 661 families or 2,400 individuals were affected by the Kanlaon phreatic eruption. A total of 1,669 individuals were displaced.

The town of La Castellana in Negros Occidental and Canlaon in Negros Oriental were placed under a state of calamity.

In a television interview, La Castellana in Negros Occidental Mayor Rhumyla Mangilimutan said the crops in the upper barangays were totalle damaged.

“Almost on the six barangays, five talaga pala, malakas ang ashfall at saka ‘yung mga tiny rocks na ulan, ‘yun ang pinoproblema namin kasi almost ang vegetation sa taas, nasira talaga,” she said.

(Almost on the six barangays, actually five, the ashfall is strong and then the tiny rocks, that's what we're having a problem with because almost the vegetation at the top is really damaged.)

“Kasi mainit ‘yung ulan ng asupre at saka mga debris ng rocks, mainit siya, so masusunog talaga ang mga saging at mga kamote at saka mga talong. Almost all na tinatanim ng mga tao natin na maliliit na kape na replacement sa mga nawawalang puno ay nasunog rin,” she added.

(Bananas, sweet potatoes and eggplants will really burn because the sulfur rain and the rock debris are hot. Almost all of the small coffee trees planted by our people to replace the lost trees were also burned.)

Mangilimutan said they are continuously in close coordination with the provincial and national government especially the Phivolcs, Pagasa and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure the welfare of the residents amid the calamity.

She said a total of 1,113 individuals or 277 families were displaced in their town. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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