Saturday, May 25, 2024

Thousands Evacuated As Philippine Volcano Oozes Lava

Around 13,000 people have been evacuated in north-east Philippines as the country’s most famous volcano, Mayon, continued to ooze lava.

Riding lorries and buffalo-drawn carriages, people living within the “permanent danger zone” or six-kilometre radius fled to shelters.

Known for its “perfect” conical shape, Mayon started spewing lava last week.

But evacuations only began over the weekend as volcanic activity intensified, setting of alerts.

More people could be evacuated if Mayon’s unrest intensifies in the coming days, said Teresito Bacolcol, the country’s chief volcanologist.

It is currently under the third highest warning in a five-tier system that forecasts the threat of a hazardous or explosive eruption. It is technically erupting, albeit at a slow pace, with lava oozing from the crater, scientists say.

Located in a farming peninsula called Bicol, Mayon is among the country’s most active volcanoes. It has grown restive in recent weeks with more frequent earthquakes and rocks falling from its crater.

“There’s the danger of a fast-moving current of volcanic gases and rocks from the crater,” Bacolcol told local media. “It will be difficult to outrun those currents.”

An eruption in 1814 killed 1,200 people and buried an entire town. But the perimeter was declared off limits, resulting in fewer casualties after recent eruptions in 2013 and 2018.

As Mayon glowed a fiery red, tourists have also begun to camp out in hilltops to witness the volcanic spectacle. Mayon, which Guinness describes as the world’s “most conical” volcano, is a tourist favourite.

Local officials have designated viewing points where thrill-seekers can marvel at its glowing crater.

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