Red Cross on full alert, mobilizes assets amid Taal unrest

Senator Richard Gordon, also Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman, on Tuesday said the organization is on "full alert" to aid victims of Taal Volcano's eruption.

In a statement, Gordon reported that PRC has deployed five ambulances and Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment team and Welfare desks preparing face masks, hot meals, and rescue vehicles for the evacuees.

"We advise everyone to take precautionary measures to avoid inhalation of ashes. Report to us any untoward incidents or call Red Cross hotline 143 in case of an emergency. Our teams are also assessing the immediate needs of the affected residents, Gordon said.

To date, more than 4,000 families or 14,491 individuals are sheltered in 35 evacuation centers in Cavite and Batangas.

Citing that volcanic ashes continue to cover the highways and streets up to Metro Manila, Gordon advised that senior citizens especially those with respiratory problems must be taken care of.

Gordon added that volcanic ashes are made of pulverized glass and rocks - abrasive, mildly corrosive, can conduct electricity when wet, and doesn't dissolve in water.

"Dapat ding walisin ang mga abo sa bubong dahil posibleng bumagsak ito kapag umulan at delikado sa tao (Volcanic ashes on roofs must be swept because (they) can cause (roofs) to fall when it rains and it's dangerous to people), he said.

"I learned a long time ago to always consult scientists in responding to disasters. We were successful in Pinatubo. We will be successful again this time. Thanks to people like Dr. Solidum of Phivolcs and Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, he added.

Evacuation has been advised in two cities and 12 municipalities in Batangas province and nearby towns in Cavite as Alert Level 4 remains, warning of a hazardous eruption that could happen within hours to days.

Source: Philippines News Agency