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Evacuation ordered in areas affected by lahar

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Pre-emptive evacuation has been ordered in five barangays of the municipality of La Castellana in Negros Occidental as another lahar flow struck downstream communities on Friday.

Images posted on social media last Friday showed torrents of gray mud and debris, or lahar, roaring down from Guintubdan falls in La Carlota City and Baji Baji falls in Barangay Cabacungan, La Castellana.

In an advisory, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the lahar flow started at around 2:50 p.m. last Friday, persisting for 80 minutes, based on seismic records.

Phivolcs added that rainfall measured 28.22 millimeters over a 3.33-hour period, which was documented by the all-weather station of the Manghumay, Mailum, Bago City Observation Station of the Kanlaon Volcano Network.

State volcanologists emphasized the likelihood of higher rainfall volumes occurring around the summit area of the volcano.

La Castellana Mayor Alme Rhummyla Nicor Mangilimutan ordered pre-emptive evacuation Thursday night in Barangays Biak Na Bato, Mansalanao, Upper Masulog, Cabagnaan and Sag-ang, where there are waterways from the volcano.

The 850 families, composed of 3,255 individuals, from the five barangays are now staying at different evacuation centers in La Castellana, according to reports from the municipality’s local disaster council.

Mangilimutan also issued an executive order enforcing curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., which took effect last Friday, to regulate public and non-essential activities in La Castellana, which is now under a state of calamity, and ensure the safety of residents.

Government workers who are on duty during curfew hours, medical doctors and health personnel, as well as veterinarians, workers of public utility companies conducting construction and maintenance or emergency activities, are exempted from the curfew.

Mayor Jose Chubasco Cardenas reported that livelihood of about 1,600 vegetable farmers in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental were affected, due to ashfall that destroyed their crops.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 682 families composed of 2,479 individuals in Negros Occidental