MANILA, Philippines – Local officials admitted being unable to sustain the food supply needed by evacuees.
Should the Mayon Volcano continues to show signs of improvement, the provincial government of Albay might decide to allow the evacuees to return to their homes located within the designated eight to the nine-kilometer danger zone.
The local government said the plan would help decongest evacuation centers and to sustain the need for food of the thousands of evacuees.
However, according to Governor Al Francis Bichara, their decision will still depend on the observations of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
“If they will lower the alert level to three, then we will allow the residents living within the nine to nine-km danger zone to return to their homes. While those living in the six to seven danger zones, we have to maintain them for a while,” Bichara said.
PHIVOLCS said Mt. Mayon has released about 50% of its lava deposit. With this, the agency is expecting the condition of the volcano to improve.
Gov. Bichara admitted that if the current situation remains unchanged until the next three months, the local government would not be able to sustain the need for food of the evacuees.
In terms of fund, the existing budget of the provincial government for the food of evacuees is enough for two months only. This is why the local government is calling for additional financial aid from various organizations.
For now, more than 80,000 individuals or 20,000 families are staying at evacuation centers.
The local government allots P200 for the food of each family.
This means the local government of Albay spends more than P4- million daily for food of the evacuees.
“We really have to maintain the supply because if you surpass the first and second day, not only Mayon will erupt, but the people as well,” Bichara said.
Earlier, local officials of Albay received P50-million worth of financial aid from President Rodrigo Duterte.
This is aside from the P25-million the president gave last Monday.
The province of Albay is also waiting for the P35-million additional aid from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which has been requested by the President himself from PCSO Board Member Sandra Cam.
Since day one, the provincial government already received a total of P27-million from various private organizations. – Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue