Mayon Volcano’s alert status raised to level 3

Mayon Volcano, hidden by clouds, spews ash from its crater on Monday in Legazpi City, Albay. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Monday monitored a light magmatic eruption and thousands were ordered evacuated along the path as alert level 3 was raised.(MNS photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has raised Mayon Volcano’s alert status from level 2 to level 3 on Sunday evening.

Alert level 2 means “increasing unrest” while level 3 signifies “increased tendency towards hazardous eruption.”

Phivolcs said that for the past 24 hours, Mayon Volcano has noticeably increased its unrest. Three phreatic (steam driven) eruptions and 158 rockfall events have been recorded between January 13, 4:21 p.m. and January 14, 7:25 p.m.

“The Mayon Volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, and that magma is at the crater,” the agency said, noting that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or days.

Mayon’s summit crater is exhibiting bright crater glow which indicates growth of a new lava dome and beginning of lava flow towards the southern slopes.

Phivolcs recommends that the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and a 7-kilometer Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) be observed due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

The public and local government authorities are also warned against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden streamflows along channels draining the edifice.

Likewise, Phivolcs also advised the Civil Aviation authorities to tell pilots to avoid flying close to the vocano’s summit since ash from sudden eruption may be hazardous to the aircraft.
“Ash fall events may most likely occur on the southwest side of the volcano based on the seasonal wind pattern,” Phivolcs said. (PNA)

More than 3,000 residents living inside Mt. Mayon’s 6-km radius permanent danger zone (PDZ) started evacuating as early as Saturday evening until Sunday morning as Phivolcs raised the volcano’s alert level 1 to alert level 2 shortly after midnight Sunday.

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara said there would be no exemption or extension of time for stubborn and defiant residents who would not go on voluntary evacuation.

In an advisory, Bichara reiterated the evacuation of residents inside and within the periphery of the 6-km PDZ.

“Strictly no farming and orchid picking inside the 6-km PDZ, residents within the slope of the volcano experiencing heavy ashfall should take precautionary measure against possible roof collapsed due to accumulated heavy ash and rain,” the advisory said.

Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta said the “no man’s land” zone should have long been free from any human activity.

For Sunday, Phivolcs recorded successive phreatic eruption at 8:49 a.m. Ashfall has been reported at the west and southwest slopes and another eruption at 10:50 a.m. that lasted for five minutes.

Another eruption occurred later around 11:43 a.m. – it lasted approximately 15 minutes based on seismic record.

LGUs with barangays within 6-km PDZ convened their respective Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils to discuss proactive actions to be taken by these local government units in case the situation escalates. (PNA)

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