Radios keep Mayon evacuees safe and informed

After living in evacuation centers for more than 50 days, the good news that thousands of evacuees from the danger zones near Mayon volcano in Albay are waiting for, finally arrived – It’s time to go home.

Thousands of displaced families head back to their houses more prepared with emergency supplies and provisions from government and NGO’s like World Vision. But the risk of a volcanic eruption remains and seismology experts are still detecting ongoing volcanic activity in Mayon’s crater.

 

Alert level 3 remains hoisted along the danger zones of Mayon Volcano and only those displaced families living within the 7-8 kilometer danger zone; were allowed to return to their houses.  

 

Amparo Ferdez, 47, and her family are among the hundreds of evacuees who needed to stay. Their village is within the 6 kilometer permanent danger zone that remains strictly off-limits to human activity. 

 

As one of the room leaders in the evacuation center, it is important that she and her fellow evacuees remain well-informed as Mayon remains restive by listening to government warnings and timely updates from the local news. Using the radios that World Vision allocated in evacuation centers, local community updates can reach families keeping them informed and alert. 

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Amparo shares, "This will be very helpful for us since we don't have television and radio here at the evacuation center. We usually rely on neighbors or text on updates. Sometimes, we don't know if the updates are true or not."

 

Now people can listen to the local news and get government updates in a timely way. Evacuees said they also listen to music and drama to keep them entertained, a way of instilling normality in evacuation centers. Twenty nine radios are now being used in evacuation centers in Camalig and Cabangan while 194 were turned over to the provincial government of Albay asprepositioned items, ready to be used, if evacuations escalate again. The portable and rechargeable radios come in handy with emergency lights. 

 Bebeth Tiu

Bebeth Tiu, World Vision's Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs (HEA) Director shares, “Disaster-affected communities expressed their need for fast and accurate information through radio to help keep them safe. When people are informed they can also give feedback. Confusion and panic are dispelled and this environment supports better coordination of humanitarian assistance." 

 

Repairs and construction of water facilities, toilets and community kitchens are also ongoing in 13 identified evacuation centers as part of World Vision’s water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) intervention in partnership with USAID.