Alert level raised after volcano eruption in the Philippines


In a bulletin on early Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) raised the alert status of the Mayon volcano one notch to level 2, which means the current activity is "probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions".

A sulfuric odor and traces of ash were found on Camalig, Albay after the eruption.

In its latest update, PHIVOLCS added that another phreatic eruption occurred today at 12.49am GMT (08.49am local time).

Mayon, one of the most active volcanoes in the country, first spewed ashes, which reached 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) in a phreatic eruption, lasting for nearly two hours on Saturday afternoon.

Phivolcs said the first phreatic eruption was recorded at 4:21 p.m. yesterday which lasted approximately an hour and 45 minutes.

The Philippines raised the alert for the Mayon volcano early Sunday, citing signs of rising magma.

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Already, authorities ordered the evacuation of residents within the 6-km radius permanent danger zone and a 7-km extended danger zone on the southern flank due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

Mayon, known for its near-perfect cone, last erupted in 2014. It also said aircraft must avoid flying close to the volcano's summit.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the volcano may be due for an eruption as it had been displaying abnormal behaviour for several month.

However, Cedric Daep, the head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, stated that those who have evacuated may be allowed to return to their homes if the volcano alert is not upped another level.

It advised people experiencing ashfall to cover their noses and mouths with a damp, clean cloth or dust mask. It was at its most deadly in February 1841, when 1200 people were killed and lava buried a town.

"We have not reached the critical level", he said in a radio interview.