Philippine volcano eruptionBack to list
Lava fountaining regularly from the Philippines' most active volcano has flowed up to 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) from the crater in a dazzling but increasingly dangerous eruption.
Mount Mayon has spewed lava up to 600 meters (2,000 feet) high at times Tuesday(23 Jan) and early Wednesday and its ash plumes stretched up to 5 kilometers (3 miles) above the crater. Lava flows in two gullies had advanced down the volcano's slopes more than a kilometer (.6 miles) and pyroclastic flows — superheated gas and volcanic debris — had reached 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the crater in one area, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said Wednesday morning.
An explosion from the crater at nightfall Tuesday was capped by one of the most massive lava displays since Mayon started erupting more than a week ago. Authorities on Monday expanded the no-go zone to 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the crater and have warned a violent eruption may occur in hours or days, characterized by more rumblings and pyroclastic flows that will vaporize everything in their path.
At least 56,217 people were taking shelter in 46 evacuation camps Tuesday and army troops and police were helping others leave the danger zone.
Authorities, however, struggled to prevent villagers from sneaking back to check on their homes and farms and to watch a popular cockfight in Albay's Santo Domingo town despite the risks and police patrols and checkpoints.
In a sign of desperation, Cedric Daep, a provincial disaster response official, told a news conference that he has recommended electricity and water supplies be cut within the no-go zones to discourage residents from returning.
"If pyroclastic flows hit people, there is no chance for life," Daep said. "Let us not violate the natural law, avoid the prohibited zone, because if you violate, the punishment is the death penalty."
Volcanic ash has darkened the skies over nearby villages in coconut-growing Albay province, where Mayon lies.