Alert level raised after volcano eruption in the Philippines

Clouds enclose the surface of the Mayon Volcano as it spewed an ash column the height of up to three kilometers late Saturday afternoon

Clouds enclose the surface of the Mayon Volcano as it spewed an ash column the height of up to three kilometers late Saturday afternoon

The 6-km PDZ includes the barangays of Quirangay, Sua, Tumpa, and Tinubran in Camalig; Tandarora and Maninila in Guinobatan; Miisi, Budiao, and Matnog in Daraga; Calbayog and Canaway in Malilipot; Buang, Buhian, and Magapo in Tabaco City; and Baligang and Amtic in Ligao City.

It was followed by other phreatic eruptions early morning on Sunday.

Mayon, known as the Fuji of the Philippines due to its near-perfect cone shape, had "phreatic or steam-driven eruption" yesterday (Saturday, January 13) and there was a further eruption today.

"This means that Mayon is exhibiting relatively high unrest and that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days", the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its latest advisory. Since the eruptions, a "faint crater glow" has been observed, while the "rockfall events have been intermittently recorded and are continuing", the agency added.

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A second ash eruption was recorded before noon on Sunday, but Phivolcs said in a subsequent bulletin that it was maintaining alert level 2.

The Philvocs still advised the affected residents not to enter the 6 kilometer permanent danger zone to avoid harm caused by sudden explosions.

Residents have been urged to protect against inhaling the ash by wearing masks or covering their noses and mouths with damp cloths. It last erupted in 2014, spewing lava and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

Mayon's most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava flows buried a town and killed 1,200 people.

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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".

But Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said those in evacuation centres may be allowed to return to their homes later in the day, unless the volcano alert level was raised further.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the volcano may be due for an eruption as it had been displaying abnormal behaviour for several month.

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