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Emitted ash from Philippines volcano spread to nearby towns, triggers evacuation

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(G.N.S) Dt. 16

Central Albay

The Philippines’ most active volcano spewed lava that cascaded downslope and emitted ash that fell on nearby towns, state volcanologists said on Tuesday.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) recorded nine episodes of tremor, four of which accompanied lava fountains, and 75 lava collapse events as pressure builds up leading to lava flows and ash plumes, reiterating its warning that a hazardous eruption could happen any time.

Mount Mayon, a 2,462-metre high volcano, a tourist attraction in Central Albay province because of its near-perfect cone shape, spewed ash and burning mud and rocks over the past two days, forcing more than 3,000 residents to evacuate from nearby villages. It showed a bright crater glow on Sunday, signifying lava had started to flow from the crater. Since Saturday’s first eruption, Phivolcs said it had recorded 158 rockfall events and urged people to stay away from a 6-kilometre radius Permanent Danger Zone and a 7-km Expanded Danger Zone on the volcano’s southern flank.

“Alert level 3 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, which means that it is currently in a relatively high level of unrest as magma is at the crater and hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days,” it said. Alert level 4 means an eruption is possible “within days” while level 5 is when a hazardous eruption is under way.

Manila’s airport authorities said airline Cebu Pacific had cancelled flights to nearby Legazpi City citing bad weather. Mayon’s most destructive eruption was in February 1814, when lava buried a town and killed 1,200 people. It last erupted in 2014, spewing lava and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

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