United Nations, Jan. 14: The Philippine government has asked UN teams for help in obtaining face masks to protect against volcanic dust and gases from the eruption of Taal volcano near Manila, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than 350 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded near Taal as of Tuesday with more than 38,000 people having been relocated to over 200 evacuation centers, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"The UN is concerned about warnings issued by the authorities that the current volcanic activity could last days, months or even years," Dujarric said.
Teams from the United Nations are visiting evacuation centers and supporting authorities by reviewing their needs, he said. The total population within the 14-km danger zone radius is estimated at nearly 500,000 people, the OCHA said.
In addition to the masks formally requested by the government are nonfood items, including hygiene/dignity kits, and portable toilets for evacuation centers. The volcano, about 70 km south of Manila, erupted on Sunday, sending out an ash plume 10-15 km high, the OCHA said. Widespread ashfall was recorded in several locations, including the cities of Manila and Quezon. (UNI)