Mayon Volcano Eruption in Philippines: Evacuation of Thousands of Villagers

Several earthquakes have been recorded in the Mayon volcanic network in the Philippines. Currently, thousands of inhabitants living in the vicinity of the volcano are being evacuated as experts have warned that the volcano could erupt in a matter of weeks. Actually, the volcano is technically erupting, but no explosion has occurred yet. The alert level has reached “critical”.

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Mount Mayon is an active volcano situated on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It has erupted in the past, leading to the deaths of many: 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes utterly destructive, and at others, less harmful. The most devastating one took place in 1814, whereby 12 000 people lost their lives. Years later, volcanic eruptions occurred lasting from July 1881 to August 1882. In May 2013, the volcano erupted again, causing the death of 5 people: 4 climbers and their guide.

This week, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded 45 volcanic earthquakes, with 270 rock fall events. The current volcanic activities have raised the alert level to “critical”. In a statement, Philvocs said that: “Mayon is exhibiting relatively high unrest and that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks.”

As a measure of precaution to protecting the people from the impending danger, the villagers living within 6 km of the crater are being compelled out of their homes; the number of inhabitants being around 12 000 to 50 000. Evacuation will be done in 3 days according to the estimates of the authorities concerned.

While the volcano is technically in eruption, no explosion has occurred yet. But, right now, it is just the lava that is flowing out. An explosion would be potentially dangerous are all sides of the volcano will be under threat. A volcanologist, Ed Laguerta, has said that he witnessed enormous glowing lava and hot boulders falling from the Mayon crater on Monday, 15th of September.

Meanwhile, molten lava and volcanic gas have emerged from the crater creating a “crater glow” that can be seen from afar.

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