Philippines Volcano Spews Lava; Thousands Flee

Philippines Volcano Spews Lava; Thousands Flee

Authorities and military personnel in the Philippines are forcibly evacuating villagers around the Mayon volcano. On Wednesday, huge lava fragments cascaded down the most active volcano in the country. Over 8,000 Filipinos have fled their homes. Military personnel are evacuating villagers living within four miles of the volcanic crater. They went from house to house, asking residents to leave.


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The Philippines may not support evacuation centers for long

On Monday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert to the third highest level on a five-step scale. Volcanologists have warned that Mayon volcano could fully erupt in the next few weeks. Locals experts said they recorded a series of rockfalls and earthquakes. They said Mayon was exhibiting relatively high unrest.


On Wednesday, crater turned red as molten rocks cascaded halfway down its slopes. About 50,000 residents were affected. Authorities have sent more than 8,000 people to temporary shelters, and they expect to clear the area within three days. However, regional civil defense director Bernardo Alejandro said the evacuation efforts were sapping the manpower and disaster relief funds in Albay province of the Philippines.

Notably, Albay province suffers roughly 20 typhoons every year, bringing landslides, floods and storms. Alejandro said the province cannot support the evacuation centers for more than a month. The state volcanology agency said more magma was moving up the crater with each passing day. However, the alert level will remain at three for the time being.

Mayon volcano has erupted over 40 times

The 2,640-meter Mt Mayon is located 200 miles southwest of Manila. It attracts a lot of local and international tourists, but poses the risk for anyone getting too close. In May 2013, four international tourists and their local tour guide were killed when the volcano erupted. According to the Philippines authorities, Mayon has erupted over 40 times since they began monitoring it.

The biggest and most violent eruption occurred way back in 1814, which devastated several nearby towns and killed more than 1,200 people.

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