LEGAZPI CITY- Hardheaded villagers living within the four-kilometer permanent danger zone refused to leave their homes, claiming they cannot leave their belongings and farms.

Forced evacuation was implemented by disaster management authorities starting at 2 p.m. on Friday for all residents living in Barangay Cogon, Irosin town.

The Office of Civil Defense-Bicol (OCD5) and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in Sorsogon made the mandatory pre-emptive evacuation that covers 2,000 families or 11,000 people living at the foot of Mount Bulusan.

Bernardo Rafaelito “Raffy” Alejandro, Office of Civil Defense Bicol regional director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council chairman, said the pre-emptive evacuation is being done by disaster responders to ensure the safety of the people to attain the zero-casualty goal of the government.

The PDRRMO Sorsogon decided to enforce the mandatory evacuation after some residents refused to leave their houses within or near the four-kilometer permanent danger zone.

Disaster management authorities in Bicol, specifically in Sorsogon, are facing complex problems as Bulusan volcano might erupt again and cause lahar flow in the event Typhoon “Dodong” brings heavy rains to the area.

Alert Level 1 is currently raised over Mt. Bulusan after the volcano erupted twice in the span of five days.

Bulusan returned to life after four years of slumber when it first erupted at 8 a.m. on May 1 and at 9 a.m. on May 6, spewing ash up to at least 250 meters high.

Sorsogon is currently under storm warning signal no. 1 due to Dodong.

The country’s weather bureau said rains may have both a positive and negative effect on residents in the area as it may remove fallen ashes from affected communities.

Intense rainfall, however, may cause lahar flows in silted channels, affecting residents of Juban and Irosin towns.PNA

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