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World News | School provides shelter to villagers displaced by Philippine volcano, students meet under tree


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MALIPORT (Philippines), June 16 (AP) Nearly 20,000 people fled an erupting volcano in the Philippines and took shelter in schools, disrupting the education of thousands of students, many of them at churches, Take lessons under a tent or under a tree.

Mayon Volcano in northeast Albay province, one of the deadliest of the 24 active volcanoes in the Philippine archipelago, began spewing lava late Sunday in a mild eruption that did not cause any casualties. But officials warned it could last for months and lead to a prolonged humanitarian crisis.

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Most of those forced to evacuate live in rural areas within a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) radius of the crater, which has long been designated a permanent danger zone but has been home to thriving communities for generations.

Evacuees were directed to more than 20 emergency shelters, mostly on elementary and high school campuses. Each classroom has been transformed into an overcrowded sanctuary for several families, complete with sleeping pads, clothes bags, stoves and children’s toys.

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More than 17,000 students in five Albay towns were displaced by the eruption. Alvin Cruz of the Albay Department of Education said about 80 per cent of children continue their regular school program through the emergency system, and parents can use “learning modules” provided by the school to teach their children at home or elsewhere .

The ad hoc distance learning method for students has been widely used during the two-year period of the coronavirus pandemic, when much of the Philippines was under police-enforced quarantine and people were confined to their homes.

“We came out of the pandemic with a huge learning loss and now Mayon has erupted,” Cruz told the Associated Press. “The challenge we have now is how do we track displaced school children so we can provide learning for their parents? module.”

Cruz said some teachers are trying to continue teaching in-person, meeting students in village halls, churches, gyms and daycare centres, outside in gardens and under trees, and even in school hallways.

“There is nothing we can do because we are in a state of emergency,” he said. “We will always find ways to ensure continuity of learning.”

On the San Jose elementary school campus, now packed with the town of Maryport’s more than 2,400 displaced villagers, AP reporters saw teachers holding classes on narrow open sidewalks, in gardens, in huts and under the shade of trees.

“Despite the volcano, life must go on,” teacher Shirley Banzagales said as she taught math to 13 uniformed children under a mango tree. “We’re basically in evacuation camp right now, but I have to keep teaching my students.”

President Ferdinand Marcos flew to Albay on Wednesday to reassure displaced villagers, distribute food and discuss with the governor and town mayor the impact of the eruption on villagers, schoolchildren and the province’s economy.

The eruption is the latest natural disaster to test Marcos’ government, which took office last June in the Southeast Asian country, considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone. About 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippines each year, and the archipelago of 24 active volcanoes is shaken by frequent earthquakes.

Marcos told evacuees at one center that it could take up to three months for the eruption to moderate and allow them to return home.

Some displaced villagers complained of high temperatures and overcrowding in emergency shelters, and local officials promised to provide more electric fans and improve their conditions.

On Monday, Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman expanded the permanent danger zone around Mayon to a 7-kilometre radius and warned people living nearby to be prepared if volcanic conditions intensify Evacuate quickly.

Mayon appeared calm on Friday, although government volcanologists said lava was still flowing slowly along its slopes and was not easily visible in bright sunlight.

The 2,462-meter (8,077-foot) volcano is the Philippines’ most tourist attraction because of its picturesque conical shape, but it’s also the most active of the country’s 24 known volcanoes. It last erupted violently in 2018, displacing tens of thousands of people. An eruption in 1814 buried an entire village and killed more than 1,000 people. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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