Press Release
January 14, 2020


Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, on Monday said they are distributing N95 masks to prevent respiratory diseases that could be caused by hazardous particles from Taal Volcano.

"As I speak, we are distributing about 1,800 N95 masks, and we have ordered another 20,000. Hopefully, in the next 2 or 3 days we will be able to add more. Hopefully, it will not undergo a series of eruptions. But obviously, it's not only just Batangas, if this happens some more, Cavite, Tagaytay, Manila, among will be affected and people should help themselves acquire masks. If you don't have an N95 mask, you can put a damp diaper on your face, it is the most primitive. In the meantime, wag sanang umasa ang mga tao na mabibigyan sila ng mask. Napakahalaga na matuto sila," he said. There has been a high demand for the said mask, with people buying them by the boxes.

In an interview, Gordon also called on the people to use improvised masks such as covering their faces with damp diapers to protect themselves from hazardous volcanic particles that could get into their lungs if they do not possess N95 masks which is said to be the most effective protection from breathing in hazardous particles since it gives a very close facial fit and filters at least 95 percent of airborne particles.

Gordon pointed out that based on his experience when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the government should prepare for respiratory and other kinds of diseases caused by the particles coming out of the volcano.

The PRC chief disclosed that though there is still no need for one at the moment, they are already preparing to put up a big hospital bed with additional beds in Batangas to accommodate sick people.

Gordon also advised people who are staying in their houses to arm themselves with brooms and check their roofs after an ash fall because its weight could cause their roofs to collapse or cave in.

"The other thing that I would like to repeat and repeat and repeat - people have to go and check, those who are not in the evacuation centers but those who are in their houses, every time we have a copious amount of ash fall, they should have a walis tingting that they could use to sweep the ashes from their roof because a lot of people get injured or are killed when their houses or the roof of their houses collapse because of the weight of the ash or lahar deposit. Sinabi ko nga noon sa mga kababayan ko noong pumutok ang Pinatubo, umakyat tayo sa bubong at pagpapalahin tayo ng Panginoon. At nailigtas namin ang mga bahay naming," he said.

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