Thousands evacuated as Mayon volcano erupts in Philippines

An unspecified number of inhabitants remain in the volcano’s Permanent Danger Zone, where they have lived for generations even though the area has long been declared off-limits.

The Philippines’ most active volcano was spewing lava on its slopes on Monday, with authorities warning tens of thousands of villagers to prepare to flee their homes if a mild eruption turns into a violent, life-threatening explosion. bottom.

More than 13,000 people have been forced to flee from mostly poor rural areas within a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) radius of Mayon’s crater since the volcano’s eruption last week. However, an unspecified number of residents remain within the Permanent Danger Zone beneath Mount Mayon. This area has long been declared off-limits, but has been lived and farmed for generations because there is nowhere else to go.

Teresit Bacolkol, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said the volcano had begun to erupt lava on Sunday night and that a more violent eruption could expand the danger zone around Mayon. Bakkolkol said people in the expanded danger zone should be prepared to evacuate to emergency shelters if that happens.

“What we are seeing now is a violent eruption,” Bakkorkol told the Associated Press. “We are looking into this daily.”

Associated Press reporters watched lava from a distance for hours Sunday night as it cascaded down a canyon southeast of the volcano. About 14 kilometers (8.5 miles) from Mayon, on the seaside promenade of Legazpi, the capital of northeastern Albay province, people rush out of restaurants and bars, many of which are known for their picturesque cones and tourist attractions. I was taking a picture of a volcano that was popular with customers.

Mayon’s renewed rebelliousness also created fear and brought new suffering.

Marilyn Miranda said she, her daughter, and her 75-year-old mother, who recently suffered a stroke, evacuated Thursday from their home in the danger-zone village of Guinobatan town, a sweltering high school that has become a haven. said to have evacuated to Her nephew also comes home every day, she said, and other men from poor rural neighborhoods also return to guard their homes and livestock.

On Sunday night, they were horrified when they saw bright red-orange streams of lava pouring down the slopes of Mayon from the overcrowded shelter. “We felt the end was near,” Miranda told the Associated Press through tears.

Mayon’s new eruption is one of a series of tragedies that have struck Amelia Morales and her family in recent days. Her husband died on Friday from an aneurysm and other illnesses, and she had been ordered by her and her neighbors to stay away from the community near Mayon, so she died in a crowded emergency shelter in Guinobatan. I had to perform my husband’s wake.

Sitting near her husband’s white wooden coffin under a flimsy open tent in one corner of the shelter, Morales, 63, said: “I have no more money left and need help burying him. It is.” “I can only cry,” she said.

The 2,462-meter (8,077-foot) volcano appeared calm on Monday, though its summit was often obscured by passing cloud patches. Bakkorkol said red-hot lava continues to flow down the slopes, but people cannot easily see it under the bright sun.

The volcano was upgraded to Alert Level 3 on its five-step warning system on Thursday, which means the volcano is in a highly unstable state and a dangerous eruption could occur within weeks to days. means

Bakkorkol said the alert level would remain at 3 because lava was slowly falling from the volcano, but could be raised if the eruption suddenly became dangerous.

The highest alert level, 5, is that a violent and life-threatening eruption is underway, with volcanic plumes billowing into the sky and superheated pyroclastic flows endangering more communities in the lush foothills of Mayon. means

Mount Mayon is one of the 24 active volcanoes in the Philippines. The last major eruption was in 2018, displacing tens of thousands of villagers. The 1814 Mayon eruption buried an entire village and reportedly killed more than 1,000 people.

The archipelago is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms a year and sits on the edge of the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, the seismic fault where most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the world.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo, north of Manila, blew off its summit in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing hundreds.

Associated Press journalist Joel Carpitan contributed to this report.

https://www.wtol.com/article/news/nation-world/philippines-mayon-volcano-spews-lava-in-gentle-eruption-evacuation/507-e3e89d5e-9bb1-4dec-983a-a706c3dde02e Thousands evacuated as Mayon volcano erupts in Philippines

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