Fun, learning activities help evacuees overcome stress, trauma — Experts

Marje Pelayo   •   January 20, 2020   •   585

Children play a game of basketball inside an evacuation center in Santo Tomas, Batangas, Philippines, 14 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

BATANGAS, Philippines – Apart from physical struggles, evacuees fight emotional and mental stress while the state of Taal Volcano remains unstable.

Authorities cannot confirm yet as to when the affected residents will remain in temporary shelters.

While some may still have a home to return to, most displaced residents may have to start from nothing considering the damage the volcano has caused in their properties.

During these times the victims must receive a stress debriefing.

Experts say such service is very important especially for children.

“Pwede iyon mag-develop ng anxiety disorder – hindi makakatulog, palaging nininerbyos, nagna-nightmares, ang hirap kaya niyan (They could develop anxiety disorder – difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, nightmares, such are very difficult conditions),” explained from Dela Salle University psychiatrist, Dr. Raineir Umali.

“The strong social support is very important because when you are connected with people, makakausap yung mga tao na magsasabi sa iyo (people open up to you and the would tell you) how they are able to cope or how they will be able to help you,” noted Dr. Shiela Viesca.

“The notion also that the government is there to assist that there are certain communities and groups who are willing to help (alleviates the pain of) any calamity or disaster,” she added.

Several volunteer groups offered free sessions for the affected residents.

Members of the Alitagtag Main College Department launched ‘Aklathanan’ at the Alitagtag Covered Court in Batangas.

One of the organizers, Nikko Pagsuyoin, posted a picture of when they gathered all the children and engaged them in a storytelling session and coloring activities.

Meanwhile, the 1st Batangas Provincial Mobile Force Company taught children how to dance at an evacuation center in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

In another picture, volunteers engaged the evacuees into a Zumba session at Tejero Elementary School in General Trias, Cavite.

Several entertainment acts also performed like ventriloquist Arnold Allanigue who toured the evacuation centers in Alfonso Municipality in Cavite and in Bauan in Batangas.

Meanwhile, the Mozart’s Guild of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Batangas served to the delight of the victims temporarily housed in their campus. – MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

No casualty in MV Moreta fire off Marikaban Island, Batangas — PCG

Marje Pelayo   •   July 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) immediately dispatched BRP Boracay to help in the fire incident involving a Philippine-registered cargo vessel, MV Moreta Venture southwest off Marikaban Island in Batangas  around 4:53 a.m. Monday (July 20).

Commodore Leovigildo Panopio of the PCG-Southern Tagalog reported that there was no casualty in the incident.

The fire was immediately contained and declared fire out at around 8:00 a.m.

BRP Boracay (FPB-2401) was berthed in Sta. Clara, Batangas City when the PCG Command Center received a distress call from said cargo vessel.

Said cargo vessel, which is now dead on the water and drifting, will be towed to the nearest port for safety. 

The PCG is now coordinating with the nearest tugboat in the vicinity waters for assistance.

Lahar flows inundate houses in Batangas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2020

Residents of Barangay Buso-Buso, Laurel, and Barangay Banyaga in Agoncillo, Batangas were seen sweeping mud from their houses after lahar brought by heavy rainfall flowed into their homes on Sunday (June 7).

Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairman of Barangay Buso-Buso Cyrus Mendoza reported that no one was hurt during the incident and residents have already begun a bayanihan to clean their barangay.

“Habang bumubuhos po ang malakas na ulan ay nakita po namin ang lahar flow na nanggaling sa mga kabundukan sa amin. Pinuntahan po namin ang mga bahay na pinasukan po lahar na ito (While the rain was pouring heavily, we saw the lahar flow from our mountains. We have already visited the houses affected by the lahar flow),” he said.

Both barangays Banyaga and Buso-Buso are in the 7-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano.

The lahar came from the ashes brought by the Taal eruption in January. –AAC (with reports from Aris Silvestre)

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano alert to level 1

UNTV News   •   March 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.

State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”

Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.

The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited. 

The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.

It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN

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