THE government of the United Arab Emirates has donated some 50 tons of different kinds of food items intended for Albay province residents who are most affected by the continuing restiveness of Mayon Volcano.
The UAE’s food shipment on board an Etihad Airways plane arrived early yesterday morning at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary (DSWD) Rex Gatchalian, along with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos, Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista and DSWD Undersecretary Dianne Cajipe received the food and medicine donation from the UAE government.
“We thank the UAE government and the Royal family for their generosity in sending the much-needed humanitarian aid for those affected by Mayon’s volcanic activities,” Gatchalian said.
His Excellency Mohamed Obaid Salem Alqataam Alzaabi, UAE Ambassador to the Philippines, requested the sending of the humanitarian aid from his government amid the forced evacuations in Albay province due to the possible eruption of Mt. Mayon.
Around 13,000 people living near Mayon Volcano were brought to evacuation centers as ash and toxic gases spewed from the rumbling crater.
Lava or red-hot rocks started falling from Mayon before 8 p.m. on Sunday and flowed down 500 to 1,000 meters from the summit, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
“Sa huling datos po natin, nakapagpa-evacuate na po tayo ng 3,761 families or umaabot po sa mahigit na 13,000 tao na nasa loob na po ng mga evacuation centers,” said Eugene Escobar, officer-in-charge of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office.
Meanwhile, the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, immediately ordered the shipment of 50 tons of humanitarian aid to the Philippines within 24 hours.
The UAE’s humanitarian aid is to support the Philippine government’s efforts in disaster preparedness and response. The humanitarian flight contains up to 50 tons of food and medicine, according to the DSWD chief.
Gatchalian said an additional 38,000 family food packs (FFPs) were turned over Sunday to the DSWD Bicol regional office, which will be good for 15 days.
ARMY ACTIVATES TASK FORCE SAGIP (note: sub-title)
The Philippine Army (PA) has bolstered its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) preparations as Mayon Volcano has now been placed under Alert Level 3 due to its increasing unrest.
Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said this was done through the activation of the Camarines Sur-based 9th Infantry Division of its Task Force (TF) Sagip, which is also partnering with other government agencies with the same mission.
“TF Sagip, which is geared towards possible HADR operations, has coordinated with the Office of Civil Defense 5, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and local government agencies in Albay and nearby provinces, which might be affected by the ongoing magmatic eruption of Mayon Volcano,” he added.
Meanwhile, Trinidad said the 9th Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 9th Infantry Division has continued to coordinate and make coordination with different sectors, including the 504th Community Defense Center and 5th Regional Community Defense Group for mobilization of the reserve force.
“Moreover, the 903rd Infantry Brigade, which covers the provinces of the 2nd district of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate, mustered its Emergency Response Team while the 31st Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division started to facilitate the mandatory evacuation of residents within the six to eight-kilometer radius danger zone,” he added.
Trinidad said the PA leadership lauds the HADR preparations of the 9th Infantry Division that aims to ensure that all Bicolanos who will be affected by the volcanic eruptions are safe from danger. With Philippine News Agency