Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Philippines volcano spews ash, people flee

Philippines volcano spews ash, people flee

There was no immediate information on whether the latest phreatic or steam-driven eruption produced a bigger ash cloud than the first two eruptions at around 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:49 a.m. Sunday, she said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded another phreatic eruption on Sunday morning at Mayon Volcano, Albay.

Alert Level 2 remained in place as of Sunday, according to Phivolcs.

"Since the eruption, rockfall events have been intermittently recorded and are continuing as of the time of the release of this bulletin".

On Saturday, residents of Camalig town proper smelled sulfur, while those from Anoling, Daraga heard rumbling sounds, PHIVOLCS added.

This means that current unrest is probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions. In an 1814 eruption, roughly 1,200 people were killed and three towns were buried under mud and rock.

Mayon last erupted in 2014, with lava flows forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

Bichara also suspended preschool to senior high school classes for Monday, January 15, in all public and private schools covered by the evacuation order.

Residents have been urged to protect against inhaling the ash by wearing masks or covering their noses and mouths with damp cloths.

It also asked civil aviation authorities to advise pilots from flying close to the volcano's summit, "as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft".

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

Those within the slope of the volcano, but outside the 6-km danger zone, were told to take precautionary measures against possible roof collapses due to accumulated ash and rainwater.

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

Phivolcs raised the alert level around the volcano following the series of phreatic eruptions, saying the volcano continues to exhibit signs of "increasing unrest" that could trigger more ash falls, rockfalls and landslides.

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