The Department of Health (DOH) in Calabarzon (Region IV-A) on Monday has been placed on full alert following the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas over the weekend.
In a statement, DOH Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said all health facilities have been readied in response to the possible effects of the eruption and ash fall such as traumatic injuries, burns, suffocation, skin diseases, eye injuries, respiratory problems, conjunctivitis, and even death.
“Health emergency personnel, provincial health team leaders including mental health teams are being deployed to specific areas to provide immediate medical and health services,” Janairo said.
Janairo reminded that those with respiratory health issues such as emphysema or asthma and bronchitis should seek medical attention immediately to avoid further health complications.
The DOH said volcanic ash fall is one of the major health hazards brought by a volcanic eruption due to its myriad of possible effects on a person such as eyes, nose, and throat irritation, difficulty in breathing, coughing, bronchitis-like illness, and minor skin problems.
To avoid such hazards, Janairo advised residents in affected areas to remain indoors and to keep all windows and doors closed.
“For those in evacuation centers, follow orders and await further instructions. Huwag na huwag po kayong aalis hanggang walang sinasabi ang mga lokal na opisyal (Don’t leave without the advice of local officials),” Janairo said.
Due to reports of a shortage and overpricing of N95 masks, the official warned that the DOH would monitor its prices and take action against unscrupulous merchants.
He said the DOH would also provide free N95 masks, eye drops, and protection kits to residents of high-risk areas in the region to further ensure their safety.
On Sunday, steam, ash, and small rocks spewed from the mouth of the Taal Volcano in Talisay, Batangas, marking a phreatic eruption — resulting in the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raising its danger level to 4.
On Monday morning, the Phivolcs said the volcano had a magmatic eruption, with an imminent hazardous eruption possible “within hours or days.” (PNA)