D&P prepared in case Philippines volcano erupts

  • December 24, 2009
{mosimage}Filipinos will be happy to see the back of 2009. As Christmas approaches the Filipino community is bracing for another natural disaster in their home country.

The Mayon volcano, a 2,460-metre mountain in central Philippines, has been spewing lava, smoke and ash in a mild state of eruption since mid-December. Volcanologists expect the mountain to erupt more severely any day, and state authorities have called out police, soldiers and others to try to keep 47,000 evacuees in temporary shelters from sneaking back into their homes for Christmas.

Filipino officials so far don't expect Mount Mayon eruptions to be as dramatic as the 1991 Mount Pinatoubo explosion which killed 800 or more.

At the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace plans are forming to support Caritas Philippines should disaster strike.

"We have an emergency plan," said Development and Peace spokesperson Jasmine Fortin. "Everyone is on alert and understands that, even with vacations, we are ready to come in and proceed."

Development and Peace staff will be ready to post information to their web site (www.devp.org) and open up the channels to accept donations over the holidays, said Fortin.

"We are in contact with Caritas Internationalis on a continual basis for news and updates to share as information comes in," she said in an e-mail.

When Typhoon Ketsana swept through the region just north of Manila in September, Development and Peace sent about $200,000 in aid raised largely in the Filipino community. The mudslides and flooding from Ketsana rendered 150,000 people at least temporarily homeless.

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