Evacuation continues amid eruption on Mayon Volcano’s summit

By Bamba Galang, CNN Philippines

Published Jun 9, 2023, 8:32:40 AM

Updated Jun 9, 2023, 11:06:11 AM

Courtesy: Jericho Salas

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday said the current activity being observed in Mayon Volcano is already considered an eruption, while Albay’s local government said evacuation is ongoing to ensure the safety of affected residents.

“There is an eruption on the summit,” Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol told CNN Philippines.

Mayon is currently under Alert Level 3 due to “an increased tendency towards hazardous eruption.” Glowing rockfall was also seen flowing from its crater Thursday evening.

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In its latest 24-hour observation report, Phivolcs said it recorded 199 rockfall events and six pyroclastic density currents on Mayon Volcano from 5 a.m. on Thursday to 5 a.m. on Friday.

Pyroclastic density currents are mixtures of fragmented volcanic particles, hot gases and ash that rush down the volcanic slopes or rapidly outward from a source vent at high speeds, state seismologists said.

Mayon also emitted plumes that reached 800 meters tall, Phivolcs said. The volcano edifice is also inflated, it added.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ The Source, Albay Gov. Edcel “Grex” Lagman said there are reports of ashfall.

Pre-emptive evacuation is ongoing, he said. So far, around 3,000 residents from Camalig and Guinobatan, which are the areas most vulnerable to the volcanic activity, were transferred to safer grounds, he added.

Aside from these municipalities, other areas affected are Legazpi, Tabaco, Ligao, Santo Domingo, Malilipot, Bacacay, and Daraga, he noted.

Albay’s public information office earlier said some 2,400 families or about 10,000 individuals are expected to be evacuated from the six-kilometer permanent danger zone.

At least 4,600 families or 16,000 individuals will be affected if evacuation is ordered within the seven-kilometer radius, it noted.

Two possible scenarios amid Mayon’s unrest

Depending on how it will develop, Bacolcol said there are two possible events that may follow.

“This heightened rock fall activity at Mayon could be interpreted as the initial signs of a possible magmatic eruption,” he pointed out, “or it may also cease just like what happened in 2014 after rock fall events there was a minor lava flow and then the activity ceased.”

He said that the first scenario is similar to the 2018 eruption wherein the rockfall activity progressed into magmatic eruptions.

If the alert level will be raised to 4, this “would mean there is an imminent hazardous eruption that is about to happen,” Bacolcol noted.

Weather forecaster Ana Clauren-Jorda of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said generally fair weather, aside from isolated rain showers in the afternoon, is expected in Albay.

If the area is dumped with rains, acid rain may likely occur if Mayon will emit sulfur dioxide in large quantities, Bacolcol warned.

Phivolcs also reminded pilots to avoid flying near the volcano for now given the situation.

Lagman said the local government is prepared to provide assistance to affected families.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has also committed over 100,000 family food packs, he added.

The governor said Albay will be declared under a state of calamity on Friday afternoon.

SOURCE: https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2023/6/9/Mayon-scenarios-amid-unrest.html

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