Thousands flee as Philippines’ Mayon Volcano spews ash

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January 14, 2018 11:01 am Published by

More than 4,000 people in the Philippines have fled their homes near Mayon Volcano, 330 kilometers (205 miles) south of Manila, as it erupted for the second day straight on Sunday.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), at least two steam eruptions were recorded before noon (local time) on Sunday.

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“The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the 6-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone to minimize risks from sudden explosions, rockfall and landslides,” Philvolcs said.

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The organization said it had been expecting an eruption since the volcano began acting abnormally last year.

ava flows from the crater of Mayon volcano seen from Legazpi City, Albay province

Lava flows from the crater of the Philippines’ Mayon Volcano after it erupted in September 2014

Mayon Volcano is the most active in the Philippines. Its deadliest eruption came in 1814, when 1,200 people were killed and a town was buried in volcanic mud. Another eruption in 1993 killed 79 people. Its last deadly eruption came in May 2013, when it killed five hikers and injured seven others.

Sunday’s eruption “propelled a greyish steam and ash plume approximately 2,500 meters high,” Philvolcs said.

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Romina Marasigan, a spokeswoman for the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and management Council, said the displaced residents have taken shelter in schools turned into evacuation centers. “The number of displaced residents could still go up if the threat of more phreatic eruptions increase,” she added.

Volcano raised to level two

Early Sunday, Philvocs raised the alert status of the area around Mayon to level two, “meaning the current unrest is probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions.”

The situation is only considered critical at alert level 3.

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A phreatic eruption is a steam eruption that occurs when groundwater is heated by magma. The extremely high temperature of the magma causes almost instantaneous evaporation of water to steam, which results in an explosion of steam, water, ash, rock and volcanic bombs.

The 2,472-meter (8110-feet) volcano has erupted about 50 times since 1616.

law,es/jlw (AFP, dpa)


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