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· Volume II Issue IV


This study aimed to explore on the lived experiences of the displaced people affected by Taal eruption in Batangas city. As an output of the study, an action plan in strengthening resilience of victim of disasters entitled Project 2Ps (Psychological and Physiological Supports) was proposed. There were 10 research participants and selected through snowball sampling technique. The in-depth face to face interviews with the participants provided rich data. 

The research design used was qualitative with phenomenology as approach. Using the interpretative phenomenological approach, the study generated 11 emerging themes related to the experiences of the displaced people affected by Taal eruption, which were: Happy and contented life, Traumatic experience, Agonizing emotions, Overcoming everyday living, Positive and negative perspective,  Basic needs and necessities, Tangible and emotional support, programs from various organizations, effective aide recovery, Optimistic pieces of advice, and Awareness amidst traumatic experiences.   

Under the first theme, it described their experience on the day they evacuated their homes. For the second theme, they were asked about their feelings living away from home. As for the third theme, participants shared their challenges encountered in the evacuation center. While the fourth theme, they revealed the changes in their emotions, thoughts and feelings. Under fifth theme, they were asked about the psychosocial support they received from government and non-government organization. Furthermore, for the sixth theme, they narrated the extended help they received, same with the seventh theme, on their perspective towards government programs that work and not. While the eight themes, they shared their thoughts on the help they received if helpful or not. For the ninth theme, they gave advice and guidance that can be used by other people who have the same experiences. At last, they were asked to share if their experiences made them more prepared than before. 

Keywords: displaced people, volcanic eruption, psychosocial support


An erupting volcano, like the one currently blanketing parts of the Philippines in ash, is dramatic and frequently deadly. But it’s a public health hazard that can go beyond physical harm. The aftermath can have devastating effects on victims’ mental health. Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress are likely to linger long after breathing problems and diabetes flare-ups subside. Doctors in disaster-impacted communities report seeing mental health issues even years after people have returned to their homes. Some even report seeing increases in drug and alcohol use.

According to Grosfield (2018), the impact of calamities can often be felt physically, mentally and emotionally. Natural disasters cause destruction of property, loss of financial resources, and personal injury or illness. The loss of resources, security and access to shelter can lead to massive population migrations in lesser-developed countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO), as cited by Srivastava (2010), has been in the forefront of the response to emergencies, and mental health care is an important part of this response. The importance that WHO attributes to dealing with psychological traumas of war and disasters have been highlighted by the resolution of the World Health Assembly, in May, 2005, when it passed the resolution of the WHO Executive Board, in January 2005, and urged support for the implementation of programs to repair the psychological damage of war, conflict, and natural disasters.

On the study conducted by Bangpan et al., (2017), although the majority of people affected by humanitarian crises maintain good psychological health and do not develop mental health problems, a common set of reported symptoms cited in the research literature following natural or man-made disasters, in both adults and children, is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent meta-analyses have also identified a relationship between exposure to different types of disaster- and conflict-related events and mental disorders and other psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression and psychological distress. Although severe mental health presentations (e.g. psychosis) are less commonly reported in the literature and their presence is often attributable to pre-existing mental health conditions, access to MHPSS during or after a humanitarian crisis may still be required.

In a study conducted by Batool (2015), it was found out that mental health problems are significantly higher among displaced people following a natural disaster. Large-scale disasters leave people displaced from their homes and cause disruptions in the lives of the displaced. Displacement causes interruption of social networks, economic burdens, and health care availability problems. All of these factors put additional burden on deteriorating health care infrastructure (Larrance, Anastario, & Lawry, 2007). Some natural disasters affect vast populations, and due to their magnitude, it becomes almost impossible to deliver individual services to the affected population (Weiss, Saraceno, Saxena, & and Van Ommeren, 2003).

Emotional instability, stress reactions, anxiety, trauma and other psychological symptoms are observed commonly after the disaster and other traumatic experiences. These psychological effects have a massive impact on the concerned individual and also on communities. As stated by Grosfield (2018), Motoyoshi (2018), Sheikh (2018), Goldmann and Galea (2014), Tucker (2019), Sajid (2007), disasters and natural calamities have a significant effect on our psychological, emotional, and mental health. Recognizing this principle is effective in helping the victims. While Math, et. al. (2015), Makwana (2019), Roudini, et. al. (2017) highlighted the importance of preparedness and understanding of the effects of disasters. For Usher et. al. (2020), Van Bavel, Baicker,.  Willer (2020), the case of the recent pandemic also resulted from fear which calls for a massive public attention.

The researcher sought to identify and evaluate the various psychosocial support given to Taal volcano eruption internally displaced persons and how this support helps the survivor in maintaining a positive outlook in life and become a more mentally sound individual.

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