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Silted gullies to cause more lahar flows from Mt. Mayon

 CAMP SIMEON OLA, LEGAZPI CITY (Aug 28, 2011) – While Typhoon “Mina” was bringing scattered rains to Albay last Friday (August 26), the Office of the Civil Defence (OCD) regional director for Bicol, Bernardo Rafaelito R. Alejandro IV, was releasing a report on the impacts of tropical storm and consequent lahar flows from Mayon Volcano and the flooding in Albay in July brought by previous typhoon, “Juaning.”

In a Quick Response Team (QRT) Investigation report ordered by Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda to evaluate lahar/flood impacts and prevailing drainage conditions in river channels of Mt. Mayon, it was revealed that lahar flows triggered by tropical storm “Juaning” caused massive volcanic siltations along the Masarawag, Padang, Nabonton and Basud channels located at the Legazpi City–Sto. Domingo boundary and in Guinobatan, Albay.

Alejandro said the channels are considered hazardous the moment heavy rains in the coming months trigger cascading of volcanic deposits from the gullies down to the low-lying areas causing damage to farmlands as well as populated localities.

The report also noted that “Juaning” caused mudflows along the Gabon river, up-rooted trees and triggered a landslide on the Southwestern flank of Mt. Masaraga. This puts the town of Polangui and neighboring villages of Ponso at risk of back flooding from Gabon river.

The report also warned communities in Guinobatan town of occasional lahar flows from the Masarawag channel during heavy rains, affecting villages of Maipon, Maninila, Tandarora, San Rafael, Iraya, Poblacion, Ilaod Morera, Binogsacan and Banao.

The OCP also recommended the building of drainage systems in barangay Padang, Legazpi City to redirect water flow from an avulsion in the slope of Mt. Mayon caused by typhoon “Reming” in 2006.

The investigation report conducted by joint teams of the APSEMO, OCD, PHIVOLCS and PAGASA regional offices also concluded that continuing lahar threats will prevail along river channels draining Mt. Mayon.

Local governments within the vicinity are advised to take precautions and and put road clearing equipment on stand by during heavy rains (SONNY SALES)