Lava flowing from Philippine volcano, thousands evacuated

Leslie Hanson
January 17, 2018

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the lava flowed as much as two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the often cloud-shrouded crater of Mount Mayon, while ash fell on several villages in northeastern Albay province.

In Legazpi City, Mayor Noel Rosal said the eruption has drawn a lot of tourists who want to see bright lava flowing from Mayon's crater.

"Lava is just cruising out of the crater slowly".

"People are buying face masks", said Myra Marbella, operation officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) yesterday.

The volcano has been spewing lava and hurling rocks, leading to ash clouds drifting toward southwest.

"Alert level 3 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, which means that it is now in a relatively high level of unrest as magma is at the crater and hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days", it said. People in the danger area have put up huge white crosses in the past in their neighborhoods, hoping to protect their lives and homes.

"If it is alert level four, the hazardous eruption is possible within days or even hours".


Meantime, NDRRMC yesterday said that the number of families affected by Mayon's increasing unrest has already reached 9,480 or 38,939 from 36 barangays in Albay province.

Three steam-explosions since Saturday have spewed ash into nearby villages and may have breached solidified lava plugging the crater, causing lava to start gushing out, Mr Solidum said.

Experts fear a major eruption could trigger pyroclastic flows - superheated gas and volcanic debris racing down the slopes at high speeds, incinerating or vaporising everything in its path.

Almost 200,000 people live in the city and are being warned that a hazardous eruption could take place within weeks, or even days.

Civil aviation authorities were also asked to advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano's summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.

While so far no one has been harmed by the volcanic activity, officials say that the presence of lava indicates that a new lava dome is being formed and that because of this the evacuation zones must be enforced. The belfry of a Cagsawa church juts out of the ground in a reminder of Mayon's deadly fury and has become a tourist attraction.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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