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Eruption-affected residents plead for potable water

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

BAYANIHAN. Policemen join residents of Brgy. Biak-Na-Bato in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, as they remove the lahar that overflowed from a creek into the highway.* PRO 6 photo

Residents of local government units affected by the phreatic explosion of Kanlaon volcano in central Negros are in dire need of potable water, as the rivers, streams, and springs, which are among the sources of their water supply, are contaminated with lahar.

Biak-na-Bato barangay chairman Joselito Martinez in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, whose village was hit by a lahar flow that rendered the highway going to Canlaon City in Negros Oriental, impassable on Wednesday, disclosed that while they have enough food for the affected residents, they need more potable water.

Water shortages were also reported in various barangays of La Carlota City in Negros Occidental, and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.

Mayor Jose Chubasco Cardenas also confirmed that water in Brgy. Masulog, Canlaon City, is now contaminated with lahar.

The city government of Canlaon City has deployed its water filtration truck to the barangays to address potable water needs of its residents.

Homer Bermudo, general manager of La Carlota Water District (CarWater), disclosed earlier that the water supply in barangays Ara-al and San Miguel in La Carlota City have been contaminated with sulfur.

Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. sent two potable water stations to La Castellana to provide drinking water to affected residents.

The water purifier stations were set up in Barangays Mansalanao and Cabanagna-an in La Castellana on Tuesday night.

“In the spirit of bayanihan, we can’t afford to hear news about scarcity of drinking water in some areas in La Castellana,” Escalante said, recalling that they also did it for the cities of Kabankalan and Sipalay, as well as Ilog, after those local government units were hit by Super Typhoon Odette in 2021.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported on Wednesday that gray cohesive mud, plant debris and gravel have been deposited by lahar in at least four waterways: Tamburong Creek, which courses through Biak Na Bato and Calapnagan in La Castellana; Intiguiwan River in Guinpanaan and upstream Baji Baji falls in Brgy. Cabacungan, also in La Castellana; Padudusan falls in Brgy. Masulog, Canlaon City; and the Binalbagan River, which drains the southern flank of Kanlaon volcano.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the state weather bureau, is forecasting thunderstorms on June 7, which could generate a larger volume of lahar.

In an interview with RMN DYHB, Science and Technology secretary Renato Solidum raised the possibility of another eruption of Kanlaon volcano, citing its characteristics.

Alert Level 2 remains in effect at Kanlaon volcano.

With the declaration of a state of calamity in La Castellana and Canlaon City, the Department of Energy said that a 15-day price freeze on LPG and kerosene products was ordered, which will take effect until June 18.

Raul Fernandez, regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense 6, disclosed that they are still in the process of consolidating the damage on crops and livestock, as a result of the Kanlaon volcano phreatic explosion on Monday.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer yesterday met with PHIVOLCS representatives, also attended by mayors of different LGUs in central Negros, and other concerned government agencies, to ensure smooth coordination and management of the disaster response, in connection with the lahar flow in some LGUs.*

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