Alert level raised to 4 in Philippines after volcano explosion
Credit: RT

Alert level raised to 4 in Philippines after volcano explosion

LUZON, PHILIPPINES — A hazardous volcanic eruption may be imminent in the Philippines, prompting the evacuation of more than 27,000 people.

The country’s most active volcano, Mount Mayon, located about 340 kilometres southeast of Manila, spewed out a huge column of ash and smoke on Monday, forcing thousands of villagers into evacuation centres and leaving nearby villages in complete darkness. The mid-day explosion followed a week of volcanic activity, which included lava fountaining and more gentle explosions.

As a result, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level from three to four (on a scale of five), which means an explosive eruption is possible within hours or days.

The danger zone surrounding the volcano was expanded to eight kilometres from the crater. Plus, airplanes were ordered to stay away from the crater and several flights were cancelled.

In a media briefing, Renato Solidum, director of the Philippines’ Office of Civil Defense, warned that this eruption could resemble the one in 2001. That deadly eruption included pyroclastic flow, which is characterized by a rapid movement of hot lava blocks, ash, pumice and gas.

Mount Mayon, which attracts climbers and hikers from around the world, has erupted 47 times since the year 616. More recently, five climbers died when they were hit by falling rocks after a violent eruption, and thousands of residents were forced to evacuate in 2014 after an alert was issued.

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