Over 30000 flee as volcano threatens to erupt in Philippines

17 January, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Over 30000 flee as volcano threatens to erupt in Philippines

The 2,462-meter high volcano in the central province of Albay began spewing ash, rocks and mud on the weekend.

The Philippines' most active volcano spewed lava that cascaded downslope and emitted ash that fell on nearby towns, state volcanologists said on Tuesday, prompting the provincial government to shut more schools.

Lava was slowly flowing out of the Mayon Volcano's crater along with a spectacular 1,000-metre (3,280-foot) ash plume rising into the sky, Philvolcs said.

Residents of at least two villages within the six kilometer radius around the volcano have already been evacuated, but some people still remain in the danger zone, hoping the threat is not yet "critical".

Disaster-response officials said nearly 15,000 people have been evacuated from high-risk areas.

The Philippines raised the alert level for the country's most active volcano twice in 24 hours Sunday, meaning that a hazardous eruption is possible within days. Pyroclastic flows are superheated gas and volcanic debris that can race down slopes and incinerate everything in their path, and are feared in a major eruption.

Increased vigilance against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden stream flows along channels draining the edifice was also advised.

Scientists have not yet detected enough volcanic earthquakes of the type that would prompt them to raise the alert level to four on a scale of five, which would indicate an explosive eruption may be imminent, experts said.

"There are some who still resist, but if we reach alert level four, we'll really be obligated to resort to forced evacuation", Cedric Daep, an Albay emergency official, told the Associated Press.

The volcano lies in coconut-growing Albay province about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila.

With its near-perfect cone, Mayon is popular with climbers and tourists but has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently.

In 1814 more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa. The most recent episode before the current occurred in 2013 when an eruption of ash killed five people who attempted to climb the volcano despite warnings.



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