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Monday, December 11, 2023

WATCH: Mount Mayon spews lava, thousands forced to flee

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Around 13,000 people were seen evacuating north-east Philippines, as the country’s most active volcano, Mount Mayon, began spitting lava and sulfuric gas on Sunday.


The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recommends that people within the ‘danger zone’ – a 6 kilometer radius – of the volcano, evacuate. This is due to the danger of landslides, ballistic fragments and rockfalls.


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Fleeing Mayon’s danger zone

While Mayon started spewing lava last week, evacuations only started at the weekend as volcanic activity intensified. Teresito Bacolcol, the country’s chief volcanologist, says more people could evacuate if eruptions intensify in the coming days. “What we are seeing now is an effusive eruption,” said Bacolcol. “We are looking at this on a day-to-day basis.”


Mount Mayon is the Philippines most active volcano, located in a farming peninsula called Bicol. It has become restive in recent weeks, with frequent earthquakes and rockfalls coming from its crater. “There’s the danger of a fast-moving current of volcanic gases and rocks from the crater,” explains Bacolcol. “It will be difficult to outrun those currents.”


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The volcano was, last Thursday, placed on Alert Level 3 on a 5-step warning system. This means it is in a state of high unrest, with a hazardous eruption possible within weeks or days. Bacolcol told local media that with lava flowing gently down the volcano, Mayon will likely remain at 3. However, this could change if its eruption suddenly becomes perilous.


Alert level 5 is the highest rating, and means a life-threatening eruption is under way. This could see ash plumes rise into the sky, with extremely hot pyroclastic streams endangering more of Mayon’s communities.


The mystic of Mount Mayon

Mount Mayon sits on Luzon Island. Which lies about 330km southeast of Manila. It is also the world’s most active volcano, and one of 24 active volcanoes in the Philippines. Its last violent eruption was in 2018.


Mount Mayon’s conical beauty is part of Filipino folklore. It’s name is from the local words for ‘beautiful lady’.


Zahraa Schroeder
Zahraa Schroeder
Zahraa writes articles about climate change, world conflict and celebrities. She received her Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies from Damelin, and has garnered more than four years’ experience in the radio industry. She is short for no reason and loves talking to strangers on the bus.

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