Gov’t prepared for Taal Volcano eruption’s worst case scenario

Published January 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

The national government and the public should be prepared for the worst case scenario as Taal volcano continues its marked unrest, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) announced on Monday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (photo courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of National Defense) MANILA BULLETIN
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (photo courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of National Defense) MANILA BULLETIN

For Defense Secretary and NDRRMC Chairperson Delfin Lorenzana, the worst case scenario is if Taal volcano blows up like the destructive Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

“The worst case scenario is if the [Taal] volcano will blow up like [Mount] Pinatubo,” Lorenzana told reporters at the NDRRMC Operations Center in Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City.

“Remember Pinatubo? ‘Yung buong bundok nawala. That’s what we are fearing, ‘yung umangat ‘yung buong [Taal] island na ‘yan at ibuga niya lahat (Remember Pinatubo? The entire mountain disappeared. That’s what we are fearing, if the entire [Taal] island rises and it spews everything),” he added.

Lorenzana said it would be difficult to imagine the scale of the devastation if Taal erupts in that way.

“Apektado ‘yung paligid nyan dahil babagsakan ng debris. Hopefully hindi mangyari ‘yun but we can never predict the actions of this volcano (Debris will fall in areas surrounding it. Hopefully, it will not happen but we can never predict the actions of this volcano),” he stated.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana allayed public fears that the ongoing volcanic activity of Taal will result in a volcanic tsunami.

Tsunamis or tidal waves are triggered by large earthquakes that occur near or under the ocean, volcanic eruptions, and onshore landslides where large volumes of debris fall into the water, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

“Nakausap ko si [Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology] Undersecretary [Renato] Solidum, sabi niya wala naman danger ng tsunami dahil first, ‘yung lake dyan ay napakaliit, it will not generate tsunami. Siguro maliliit na waves lang (I spoke to [Phivolcs] Undersecretary [Renato] Solidum and he said there is no danger of tsunami because first, the lake there is very small, it will not generate tsunami. Probably only small waves),” Lorenzana said.

However, he said that the public should still be alert in case of a major eruption since it may cause “substantially high” waves.

“That will disturb the waters there,” he said.

The Mount Pinatubo eruption was the second-largest volcanic eruption of the twentieth century, only behind the Novarupta eruption in Alaska in 1912, according to the USGS.

More than 350 people died during the actual eruption. However, the diseases caused by the eruption and the lahar flow that flooded the villages raised the death toll to over 720.

 
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