Rains Trigger Sudden Mudflow in La Castellana

Heavy rains lashed La Castellana, Negros Occidental on Wednesday afternoon, causing a sudden mudflow that surprised residents in two barangays. The incident, which occurred around 1:30 pm, left roads impassable and raised concerns about the safety of residents.

According to La Castellana Mayor Alme Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan, the mudflow struck Barangays Biak na Bato and Masulog. Initial assessments indicated no casualties, but the extent of damage to property was still being determined.

Officials from the Kanlaon Volcano Observatory (KVO) of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) were quick to dispel fears of volcanic activity. Mari-Andylene Quintia, a science research specialist at KVO, assured the public that the mudflow was not linked to a Kanlaon eruption.

"There was no recorded eruption of Kanlaon Volcano prior to the mudflow, " Quintia explained. "The mudflow was formed when volcanic ash, that settled on the slopes of the volcano, was swept down by heavy rains. "

This phenomenon, known as lahar, is a common occurrence on the slopes of volcanoes. When heavy rains mobilize loose volcanic deposits, they can form fast-moving mudflows that pose a significant threat to communities downstream.

While not directly caused by volcanic activity in this instance, the lahar incident highlights the vulnerability of communities living near volcanoes. The mudflow served as a stark reminder of the importance of disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures.

Local authorities in La Castellana are currently assessing the situation and coordinating relief efforts for affected residents. The extent of the damage and the number of individuals displaced by the mudflow are still being determined.

In the aftermath of the incident, PHIVOLCS emphasized the importance of staying informed about potential hazards. They advised residents in lahar-prone areas to monitor weather conditions and heed warnings issued by authorities.

The sudden mudflow in La Castellana serves as a cautionary tale, underscoring the need for continued vigilance and proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with volcanic landscapes and extreme weather events.

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