Hundreds of people flee as Philippines' Mayon Volcano spews ash

Hundreds of people flee as Philippines' Mayon Volcano spews ash

Hundreds of people flee as Philippines' Mayon Volcano spews ash

In a bulletin on early Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) raised the alert status of the Mayon volcano one notch to level 2, which means the current activity is "probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions".

The volcano, located in Albay province of central Philippines, first spewed ash on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning.

Before noon on Sunday, Solidum said Mayon Volcano exploded for the third time, amid rumblings heardand minor quakes felt by residents and sent smoke and ash into the atmosphere that drifted into the towns of Guinobatn and Camalig, Albay.

PHIVOLCS further said the public should refrain from entering the 6-kilometer radius of the Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) to minimize risks from sudden explosions, rockfall, and landslides.

In its notice-to-airmen (notam) on Sunday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the "existence and horizontal/vertical extent of volcanic ash cloud" may endanger all aircraft passing near the area and advised against flying close to the summit.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the volcano appeared due for another eruption as it has been displaying abnormal behavior since late a year ago.

Authorities have cut off air traffic near Mayon and further advised residents to cover their mouths with a damp, clean cloth or a dust mask when ash clouds are overhead, Reuters reported.

A "hazardous eruption" of Mount Mayon could happen "within weeks or days".

People living outside the danger zone have been warned to take precautions against potential roof collapses due to the weight of ash and rainfall.

"Alert level 3 is what we considered critical, 4 is when eruption is imminent, and 5 is eruption in progress", he said, adding that people in evacuation centers may be allowed to return homes if Phivolcs does not raise the level.

But the same records showed that Mayon's most destructive eruption occurred in February 1841 that practically buried a town and killed more than 1,200 people.

"We call on the people directly affected by the eruption of Mt Mayon to cooperate with their respective LGUs (local government units) in order for us to avoid injuries or casualties", Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

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