Photo Courtesy of ADRA Philippines
Philippines | Aimee Tapeceria, ADRA Ph Public Relations Officer

In the past 3 weeks, the Taal Volcano Network recorded over 800 volcanic earthquakes in the Philippines, including volcanic tremor events, low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and low-level background tremors.

ADRA Philippines has been communicating with the Adventist Community Services (ACS) director of the South-Central Luzon Conference. Assessment tools have been shared with the ACS director to allow for immediate needs assessments to be conducted should the alert level be increased to a Level 4, or if there is a destructive volcanic eruption.

“ADRA is preparing for a possible Taal eruption by [consistently] communicating with the local conference through its ACS director in order to share information and guidance on conducting assessment data collection following a disaster and planning an emergency response,” says Edelene Eunice De Guia, Planning and Evaluation Manager of ADRA Philippines. “ADRA has also visited the local government units that could be most affected by the eruption to initiate contact and establish coordination,” De Guia added.

ADRA Philippines’ Emergency Response Team in Cavite has conducted an initial assessment in the municipalities of Agoncillo and Laurel and is planning to implement an initial response to help protect the affected families from the adverse effects of the daily high levels of sulfur dioxide emissions and prevent COVID-19 transmission through the provision of N95 masks. 

After successfully organizing assessments in affected communities situated near the Taal volcano, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) initiated the distribution of relief goods Tuesday morning to help 600 hundred families in the municipalities of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas.

The alert level in Taal Volcano was heightened by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to Level 3 after it released “a dark phreatomagmatic plume” early in July - displacing families situated west of the caldera.

ADRA delivered 300 family hygiene kits to the municipality of Laurel and another 300 to the municipality of Agoncillo, to help families who were evacuated due to the recent volcanic activity. Each hygiene kit included N95 masks, antibacterial soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, a bar of laundry soap, and a towel.

“It is important to partner and coordinate with the local government units to ensure that accurate assessment data will be collected. Also, through proper coordination, duplication of assistance will be avoided, allowing the affected communities to receive the most appropriate aid that they need,” De Guia said.

Agoncillo was one of the worst-hit towns in last year's eruption where ADRA provided cash assistance for the affected residents. This year, ADRA is happy to be able to provide these hygiene kits, not only to protect against the potential ash from the volcano, but also to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

 This article was originally published on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s news site