CAMALIG, Albay—“Sampulong baka kan samuyang pamilya asin partidaryo an yaon digdi sa animal evacuation pooling site sa Cabangan asin may bastanteng pakakan asin tubig (Ten cattles owned by our families and relatives are here at the animal evacuation pooling site in Cabangan, Camalig, Albay and they have sufficient food and water),” said Victor Naag.

According to Albay Livestock Inspector Ralph Ibieta and Cabangan Animal Evacuation Pooling Site in-charge, there are 116 ruminants evacuated from barangays Anoling, Tumpa, Upper Cabangan, Salugan and Kirangay. Only ruminants were being evacuated and placed in the pooling site.

Ibieta said that they have sufficient supply of napier grass, and water. The farmer-owners were asked to regularly visit and check on their animals.

Camalig Livestock Inspector Edmark Sim disclosed that the farmers from barangay Sua refused to have their animals evacuated.

According to Albay Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Florencio Adonay and head of the Mayon Evacuation of Animal Team (MEAT), 900 ruminants were already evacuated and placed in nine pooling sites/feeding camps from 12 directly affected barangays of Daraga, Guinobatan, Camalig, Ligao City, and Legazpi City.

At present, there are no evacuated animals from the first district yet as ash fall are only experienced in the second and third districts of Albay.

If ever, more than 6,500 ruminants will be evacuated.

He added that swine and dogs were not included in the evacuation trucks provided by the province because of the difficulty of maintenance and lack of proper facilities.

The identified pooling sites are located in low-lying areas of the affected barangays outside the declared 8-9 km danger zone.

According to Dr. Manny Victorino, head of the Guinobatan MEAT, some farmers refused to have their animals evacuated for fear of losing them and the lack of food source such as grass. These farmers were asked to sign a waiver that they will not be blamed and held liable if in case, something bad happen to their animals.

The MEAT established strategic feeding camps and provided laminated sacks to protect the feeder, water and feeds in case of ash fall; ruminant feeding concentrates; PVC drums as feeder/water containers; and 10-meter-nylon ropes. They also conducted animal tagging and veterinary mission service which include check-up, treatments, vitamin supplementations, and other healthcare activities.

The Department of Agriculture in Bicol already donated molasses, ropes, Combinex, feeds, copra meat, and salt as food supplement to the livestock animals and relief goods to the livestock raiser/farmer. Animal healthcare interventions and monitoring to prevent outbreak of volcanic ash-related diseases and disorders on livestock at the evacuation centers. Personnel were deployed to continue the update on-site validation for the identified pooling sites of livestock. DA-Bicol provided transport vehicles for the evacuation of animals. (jaysonmgonzales)