12,000 flee as lava oozes from Philippine volcano

Thousands fled from their homes as lava oozed out of a rumbling Philippine volcano on Monday in what volcanologists described as a “quiet eruption”, warning it could lead to a hazardous explosion within days. Lava was slowly flowing out of the Mayon volcano’s crater along with a spectacular 1,000-meter (3,280-foot) ash plume rising into the sky, the nation’s volcanology institute said. More than 12,000 people have been ordered to leave a seven-kilometer (four-mile) danger zone around the crater, as officials warned them of potentially destructive mudflows and toxic clouds. “Technically, the volcano is erupting but the eruption is fairly quiet. It may escalate into a hazardous eruption,” Paul Alanis, science research specialist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), told AFP. A hazardous or explosive eruption means a lava fountain or a spray of hot rocks and gases that could move as fast as 60 kilometers per hour, Alanis added. Local disaster officials also warned of volcanic mudflows known as lahars. “Because of continuous rains in past weeks, debris deposited (on) the slopes of Mayon could lead to lahar flows. If rain does not stop it could be hazardous,” Claudio Yucot, head of the region’s office of civil defense, told AFP. Mayon, a near-perfect cone that draws thousands of tourists, even during minor eruptions, rises 2,460 meters (8,070 feet) above a largely agricultural region some 330 kilometers southwest of Manila. It is considered the nation’s most active volcano. Steam-driven eruptions and rockfalls began over the weekend, and the… [Read full story]


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