Pinatubo unleashed three major destructive agents, namely: ashfall, pyroclastic flow and lahar that caused destruction to Central Luzon's infrastructure and rendered its vast agricultural lands into virtual wastelands. Hardest hit were the provinces of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac where more than 86,000 hectares of agricultural lands and fishponds were affected by ashfalls and lahars.

Irrigation systems, water service facilities, power transmission and lateral lines, roads bridges and other infrastructures were damaged mainly by lahars while houses and public buildings collapsed from the weight of accumulated ash deposits. Commercial and industrial operations were suspended while more than 650,000 workers were forced out of work because of the destruction of their farms, shops, factories and work places. The Americans were forced to evacuate Clark Air Base after volcanic dust, ashfall and lahar rendered its runways useless and endangered the operations of its planes. In Metro Manila, volcanic dust also blanketed the metropolis forcing authorities to suspend classes for a few days. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport was also closed for four days and public buildings were converted into evacuation centers to accomodate the increasing number of refugees from the devastated areas.

But more than the destruction of buildings and infrastructure, Pinatubo's eruption affected more than 249,000 families or about 1.18 million people, including 847 deaths, 184 injuries and 23 missing.

By December 1991, 61 municipalities and two cities had been declared as calamity areas.

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