Medicine

Philippine volcano 'fireworks' draw tourists as residents flee

Philippine volcano 'fireworks' draw tourists as residents flee

Additionally, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) released a new bulletin today saying that the volcano remains at Alert Level 3, which means there is a high level of unrest and that a hazardous eruption is possibly within weeks, or even days.

As many as 34,000 people have evacuated the region since ash plumes began smoking out of the mountain's top over the past weekend.

Lava flowed less than half a mile down a gulley from the crater on Monday morning and ash clouds appeared mid-slope as lava fragments rolled down, said Renato Solidum, who heads the volcano institute.

Albay resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta confirmed that a lava flow was already creeping downslope from Mayon volcano's crater with its direction following the existing volcanic gullies at the south western direction.

Marasigan said the affected residents are currently staying in 30 evacuation centers and added that Albay is now under a state of calamity due to Mayon's restiveness. People in the danger area have put up huge white crosses in the past in their areas, hoping to protect their lives and homes. Level four signifies the volcano could erupt violently within days.

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

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At 2,462 meters (8,077 feet) tall and nearly perfectly shaped like a cone, Mayon, in the central province of Albaya, began spewing ash, rocks and mud last weekend.

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.

Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot told the AP, however, that there were plans to set up evacuation areas for animals in a bid to discourage villagers from returning said danger zones. Almost 200,000 people live in the city and are being warned that a hazardous eruption could take place within weeks, or even days.

The biggest eruption ever recorded at the volcano occurred in 1814.

All public and private schools in the evacuation area were canceled for Monday and aviation authorities told pilots to avoid flying close the the volcano's summit.

The most powerful explosion in recent years was the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, about 100 kilometres northwest of Manila, which killed more than 800 people.


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