"..a bardy view!"

Mount Mayon erupts – with fatal consequences………

"Mayon volcano is an enigmatic personality. The more she
does this, the more they will come. The more the danger, the more the

So says Albay Governor Joey Salceda, after Mount Mayon gave a 73-second explosion killing five climbers on 7th May 2013.

MayonThe state seismologist said the explosion was triggered when the
rainwater made contact with hot ash deposits on the crater mouth. That makes
sense - a bit like adding water to a sizzling frying pan.

It's rather unfortunate that Governor Salceda couldn't have
chosen his words more appropriately. eg "This is a terrible tragedy. My
sympathies go out to the victims and their families. We will do everything to
learn from this, and investigate how this appalling accident occurred."
– it's a stock response, in the files of
every person in a high position of public service – but not in Salceda's. No, to him it
will bring more tourists. If that’s not what he meant it’s certainly how it

Yes Mayon is a thing of majestic power and beauty, twice the
height and grandeur of Vesuvius, and unless you've ever stood beneath her
shadow, it is impossible to convey the overwhelming presence she manifests.
Having seen both, you can take my word for it.

She is extremely active, and has erupted over 40 times in
the last 200 years. It is this activity which probably keeps her well tempered.
She's not bottling anything up in other words, although every now and again she
throws a tantrum.

Sadly on this occasion five lives have been lost. Three
Germans, one Spaniard and a Filipino guide – all killed by cascading boulders.
For that indeed is how Mayon makes her mark. In recent years Mayon has caused
destruction because of landslides due to bad weather, and because her
fertile slopes have been harvested and destroyed, the natural defences of forest
no longer exist to prevent the onslaught.

That is not just the story of Mayon, but the story of
Philippines deforestation. Increasingly when typhoons occur lives are lost
because the natural barriers have been removed. There are no more nor less
typhoons annually in the Philippines, but the loss of life is considerably
greater. True, the population has increased manifold in the last 25 years, but
that population centres around the cities.

Deforestation affects them through rampant flooding, rivers
overflow, drainage cannot cope and the streets in turn become rivers. This is
not about climate change, it is about environmental carnage and exploitation, acquiesced
by corrupt politicians in league with commercial enterprise who are
sacrificing the long term sustainability and evergreen future of their country
for the sake of the evergreen dollar.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. Certainly not when the Provincial
Governor of this latest episode churlishly passes it off as an occasional
incident and seemingly fails to express even one single word of humility or regret.

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May 8, 2013 - Posted by | Conservation, Current Affairs, Education, History, Mount Mayon Volcano, Politics, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , ,

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