SINGAPORE: Mercy Relief said on Tuesday (Jan 23) it has begun relief distribution operations to help communities in northern Philippines affected by Mount Mayon spewing lava and ash.
Mayon, the country's most active volcano, has been spewing lava, ash and pyroclastic material since Jan 13, displacing close to 40,000 residents in the central province of Albay. Philippines authorities have closed all schools and urged residents to stay indoors.
The lava flows and thick plumes of volcanic ash are causing zero visibility conditions and breathing difficulties for villagers, said Mercy Relief.
The disaster relief agency added that it is working with ground partners in Albay, Bicol and Luzon island to assess as well as monitor the varying needs of the affected communities.
From Tuesday, Mercy Relief said it will kick off the first phase of relief distribution efforts involving the setting up of temporary kitchens to distribute hot meals, targeting more than 2,000 people across 3 villages.
Commenting on the efforts, Mercy Relief's executive director Zhang Tingjun said: "Our thoughts are with the communities affected by Mount Mayon. We will continue to assess the evolving situation on the ground in order to address the displaced villagers' most critical needs."
According to reports from the Philippines' Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, around 1,000 families, comprising more than 39,000 people have been evacuated and are being sheltered in 28 evacuation centres.
The plumes of volcanic ash has also closed operations at Legazpi City International Airport, hampering relief efforts from Manila.