Philippines raises alert level as Mount Mayon erupts

Philippines raises alert level as Mount Mayon erupts

Philippine authorities have raised the alert level for Mayon volcano on Sunday as it erupted three times in 24 hours, prompting hundreds of residents nearby to flee homes.

Scientists said that Mount Mayon in the province of Albay, close to 200 miles from the country’s capital Manila, started ejecting ash and emitting steam on Saturday. Traces of ash fell on a number of communities around the volcano, while residents smelled sulphuric odour and heard rambling sounds.

Residents have been advised to stay away from the permanent danger zone, which is a six-kilometre radius from the volcano, to avoid sudden eruptions, landslides and falling rocks.

“Mayon Volcano in Albay Province generated phreatic eruption that propelled a grayish steam and ash plume approximately 2,500 metres high,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its latest alert notice obtained by Gulf News on Sunday.

Prior to the phreatic explosion, Mayon’s edifice has undergone inflationary changes or a slight swelling. “In view thereof, [authorities are] raising the alert level [to alert level 2],” said Phivolcs.

“This means that current unrest is probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions.”

“The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the six-kilometre radius permanent danger zone to minimise risks from sudden explosions, rockfall and landslides.”

At 4.21pm on Saturday, scientists reported grayish steam and ash plume spewing 2.5 kilometres and lasting for an hour and 47 minutes.

Phivolcs reported on its Twitter account that two more phreatic eruptions occurred on Sunday at 8.49 am and 11.43 am.

As of 4am, more than 2,000 residents have left their homes, local police said, according to GMA News.