Volcanic Mudflows Flood Villages Near Mount Pinatubo
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Volcanic debris loosened by rains from Mount Pinatubo’s slopes buried several villages near rivers, including President Corazon Aquino’s hometown, officials said today.
The volcano shot more steam and ash 6 miles high today, according to volcanologist Freddie Reyes.
On Friday, Typhoon Amy skimmed the northern Philippines but its fringe winds brought rain to a wide area of Luzon island, including areas damaged by Mount Pinatubo, which has been erupting for over a month.
The rain prompted volcanic debris to cascade down Mount Pinatubo into rivers, forcing authorities to order the evacuation of thousands of villagers in the affected areas.
The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council said 350 houses were destroyed in Floridablanca and Santa Rita towns in Pampanga province but there were no report of casualties. The two adjacent towns are about 40 miles north of Manila.
In Mrs. Aquino’s hometown of Concepcion in nearby Tarlac province, Mayor Danilo David said volcanic mudflows buried more than 130 houses five feet deep and forced at least 1,200 people to evacuate.
The disaster office said that brought the number of houses destroyed or damaged to over 83,800 since the volcano began erupting last month after 600 years of dormancy.
David said workers using bulldozers are rechanneling a river leading to Concepcion to spare the town center and nearby villages from flooding.
The U.S.-run Clark Air Base, 10 miles east of Pinatubo suffered major damage and is to be closed. Ash also reached the U.S.-run Subic Bay naval station 25 miles to the south.