Red Cross: Stay indoors during Mayon eruption

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — The Philippine Red Cross advised communities affected by Mayon volcano's eruptions to keep away from the ash fall.

"We're trying to educate the public to avoid going outside to inhale this thing," Red Cross chair Sen. Richard Gordon told CNN Philippines on Tuesday. "Stay indoors so (you're) not exposed to ash."

On Wednesday, Mayon spewed thick ash clouds reaching up to five kilometers in height.

READ: Mayon volcano spews thick ash cloud anew

The region's local Department of Health (DOH) office reported that there are over 602 cases of coughs and colds, and 596 cases of acute respiratory infection from January 15 to 23.

Mayon's phreatic or steam-driven eruptions started on January 13.

Gordon said the Red Cross will be distributing at least 10,000 face masks to communities affected by Mayon's eruptions.

"Eventually, we'll probably be setting up depending on the requirements doctors and nurses who will have to look into respiratory illness particularly in the evacuation centers with the DOH," he said.

According to data from Albay's provincial disaster risk reduction and management office, 10 cities and municipalities have been affected by the series of eruptions:

  • Legazpi City
  • Ligao City
  • Daraga
  • Camalig
  • Guinobatan
  • Oas
  • Polangui
  • Malilipot
  • Tabaco
  • Sto. Domingo

Gordon said the Red Cross has so far distributed 3,000 masks and provided psychosocial support for 4,801 people traumatized by the eruptions.

Gordon added that the Red Cross will be providing water stations to help residents get clean water, along with bathrooms and latrines to maintain sanitation.

"In addition to that, we have welfare desks and first aid stations so we can track down the requirements of people, restore family links and prevent sexual deviants from taking advantage of the situations at close quarters," he said.

Gordon said the Red Cross needs more mats, blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and sanitation items to help affected residents.

CNN Philippines Senior Digital Producer Pia Garcia contributed to this report.