DOH remains on Code Blue for ‘Oplan Mayon’

MANILA -- Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said the health department remains on Code Blue alert due to "Oplan: Mayon Operations," and had set up round-the-clock medical stations offering free consultations in every evacuation site.

The DOH on Friday reported its heightened and sustained efforts in assisting nearby communities around Mayon volcano in Albay province as it continues to exhibit seismic unrest, lava fountaining and summit explosions prompting authorities to extend the Danger Zone to 8 kilometers radius.

Earlier, the DOH Central Office ordered a quick release fund of PHP5 million to DOH Bicol Region to finance various activities relative to immediate response needs in affected areas and nearby towns.

Meanwhile, a Rapid Health Assessment Team composed of 326 doctors, nurses and midwives has been deployed since January 13 in the several evacuation sites including Camalig, Guinobatan, Daraga, Tabaco City, Sto. Domingo, Malilipot, Legazpi City and Ligao City, Albay.

Presently, a total of 35,436 evacuees are housed in different evacuation centers.

The DOH Bicol Region has allocated funds and still has over PHP6 million worth of assorted medicines and commodities in stock at their warehouse, as declared by Bicol Regional Director Dr. Napoleon Arevalo.

Fast lanes are also in place in DOH hospitals particularly Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital and Bicol Medical Center. They are also tasked to augment health workers and adopt evacuation centers to provide medical assistance in case there are emerging health conditions needing medical attention.

We are advising affected residents in the area to minimize exposure to ash by staying indoors as much as possible, wear protective covers (dust masks, goggles, wet towels etc.) against volcanic ashes, keep doors and windows closed and observe road safety measures Duque said.

The health chief also added that persons suffering from bronchitis, emphysema or asthma should take extra precaution against exposure to volcanic ash as they are more prone to health problems.

To date, the eruption has now affected a total of 83,533 families or 56 barangays in the affected municipalities/cities. Of these numbers, 17,490 displaced families or 66,442 individuals are currently accommodated in 67 evacuation centers.

Source: Philippine News Agency