Philippine officials fear Mount Mayon eruption could be imminent

Lava from Mayon volcano is seen as it erupts in Legazpi on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Philippine officials fear Mount Mayon eruption could be imminent

MANILA: Philippine authorities have warned that Mount Mayon, the country’s most active volcano, could be set for a “hazardous eruption” as lava flowed down its crater Monday morning following three steam eruptions on Sunday.
Famed for its near-perfect cone shape, Mount Mayon is a major landmark in Albay province, south of Manila. At least 50 eruptions have been recorded since 1616. Mayon’s most destructive eruption was in 1814, and claimed around 1,200 lives as well as destroying the historical Cagsawa church. Its most recent eruption was in 2014.
Almost 17,500 people living within Mayon’s six-to-seven-kilometer danger zone have been evacuated since the volcano started to spew steam and ash clouds during a phreatic eruption — a steam-driven explosion — on Saturday.
Authorities began to implement forced evacuations after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) increased the alert level for Mount Mayon to three late on Sunday.
“Alert level three means there is an increased possibility of hazardous eruption,” PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum told Arab News.
“The Mayon volcano is already erupting, but the eruption is non-explosive,” he added. “But now there is a possibility that there could be an explosive eruption.”
Displaced residents may have to stay in temporary shelters for several weeks, or even longer, he explained.
“(They’re) not going back any time soon,” Solidum said. “As long as there are indications of the potential threat of an explosive eruption, they will be staying in the evacuation centers.”
Solidum explained the alert level was actually more likely to rise to level four than to be lowered. At level three, and eruption can be expected within a matter of weeks, or perhaps days. At level four, “the window to eruption is shorter,” meaning days or even hours.
At the current level-three alert, authorities strongly advise that no one enters the six-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone or the seven-kilometer Extended Danger Zone on the volcano’s southern flank.
PHIVOLCS announced that two lava-collapse events occurred at 9:41 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. on Monday, lasting five and seven minutes respectively and producing rock falls and small-volume pyroclastic density currents.
“These events appear to have originated from the lava front and produced an ash cloud that drifted to the southwest sector,” the institute explained, adding that ash fall had been reported in at least 27 villages in the municipalities of Guinobatan and Camalig in Albay province.
Meanwhile, R A Ostria, a resident of Guinobatan, told Arab News that due to heavy rain in Albay, it was hard to tell if a further phreatic eruption had taken place.
“People only realize there has been another eruption if they experience eye irritation, or there’s a sulfuric smell, or if there’s further ash fall,” he said.
Ostria claimed local government officials and staff of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council were working overnight to evacuate residents. While many left the area voluntarily, some, especially older people, refused, apparently unfazed by the threat of an eruption, having faced them before.


Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

  • By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations
  • Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180

TEPIC, Mexico: Supplying clean water and toilets for all could take hundreds of years in countries like Eritrea and Namibia unless governments step up funding to tackle the problem and its harmful effects on health, an international development agency warned on Monday.
WaterAid — which says nearly 850 million people lack clean water — predicted the world will miss a global goal to provide drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone by 2030.
Meeting it will cost $28 billion per year, the non-profit said.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis,” said Savio Carvalho, WaterAid’s global advocacy director.
“We’re really calling for governments to pull up their socks,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the United Nations in New York.
From July 9-18, governments are reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, with a focus on six of the 17.
Last week, UN officials said barriers to achieving the 2030 water and sanitation targets range from conflict and water pollution to climate change, urging more efficient water use.
By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations, WaterAid said.
Drawing on UN data, the UK-based group calculated some countries will need hundreds of years to provide safe drinking water and toilets for all their people, meaning countries collectively are thousands of years off track.
At current rates, Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180, WaterAid said.
It could be 500 years before every Romanian has access to a toilet, and 450 years for Ghanaians, it added.
Governments should fund water and sanitation provision from their own budgets, and work with utilities and private companies to reach people in isolated areas, said Carvalho.
“There’s money around — it’s just not allocated in the right way,” he said, urging international donors to increase spending on water and sanitation.
Other global goals to ensure healthy lives, reduce inequality and end poverty will be jeopardized until access to water and sanitation is prioritized, noted Carvalho.
WaterAid quoted World Bank data showing the knock-on effects of inadequate sanitation — which causes child deaths from poor hygiene and preventable disease — cost $220 billion in 2015.
Some countries, including Rwanda and India, have made substantial headway toward the water and sanitation goal, but sustaining progress remains a challenge, said Carvalho.
“For the nations collectively to be thousands of years off track in meeting these human rights is shocking,” WaterAid Chief Executive Tim Wainwright said in a statement. (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit