DOH steps up health monitoring in villages around Mt. Bulusan

The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol is investigating if the three reported cases of respiratory illness, specifically asthma, in the town of Bulusan were caused by the ash spewed by Mount Bulusan since May 1 this year, a top DOH official said.

Mount Bulusan
Photo: Pdrrmo Sorsogon
Dr. Emilia Monicimpo, DOH OIC-director, said personnel of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Sorsogon, Municipal Health Office of Bulusan and DOH-Bicol regional office are conducting surveillance of the health condition of residents in the town and its nearby villages.

The surveillance team will determine how many indeed acquired respiratory illness due to ash fall emitted by the volcano as reported earlier by media.

Monicimpo said the agency has scaled up its effort in preventing the rise of illness related to volcanic ash.

Some Php100,000 worth of drugs and medicines were given to the PHO and MHO as augmentation supply for this operation to eventually prepare them to address health concerns of residents in communities affected by the Bulusan eruption, she said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and Office of Civil Defense aerial survey over Mount Bulusan on Wednesday found only thin new layers of ash in the vents and slopes of the Bulusan Volcano.

The survey, however, discovered significant volume of lahar deposits that would trigger lahar flows in times of heavy rains.

After emitting ash columns into the air for about six times this month, the Bulusan Volcano on Thursday stayed calm as Phivolcs seismic network did not detect any volcanic earthquake for the past 24 hours.

Slight bulging at the volcano’s edifice was noted during a precise leveling survey, the Phivolcs bulletin said.

Alert level 1 (abnormal) remains in effect, meaning the public is not allowed to enter the 4-km Permanent Danger Zone due to sudden phreatic explosions.

The bulletin also warned residents living along river and stream channels, especially on the southwest and northwest sectors of the edifice, against lahar flows in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall. (PNA) 

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