Disasters & Accidents

Philippines’ Mayon volcano activity could last 3 more months

Manila, June 19 (EFE).- Philippine seismological agency Phivolcs said Monday that the activity of the Mayon volcano, the most active in the archipelago and which has already forced the evacuation of some 20,000 people in the country’s northeast, could extend for another three months.

“It will probably take 3 months before Mayon’s activity ceases,” Phivolcs director Teresito Bacolcol predicted Monday in an interview with local radio station Teleradyo.

Bacolcol said calculations are based on the most recent eruption, when in 2018 Mayon registered a “soft and effusive eruption,” similar to the current one, although he said the volcano is unpredictable and warned that a violent explosion cannot be ruled out.

The activity of Mayon, which in the last 24 hours has not registered any earthquake and whose sulfur dioxide emission has decreased slightly according to Phivolcs, has already caused about 20,000 people to evacuate within a radius of 6 kilometers from the volcano. Some 628 residents have needed medical assistance for respiratory problems.

As confirmed Monday by the National Emergency Center, in Albay, the province where the volcano is located, local authorities have set up 28 evacuation centers, although an increase in activity would force the evacuation of thousands more.

The volcano, which spat out a plume of lava more than 1 kilometer from the crater Thursday, is at alert Level 3, out of a maximum of five.

Phivolcs again stressed the risk of landslides or lahars in his daily report: avalanches of ash, mud and sediment that Mayon spits out and accumulates on the slopes of the volcano, in the province of Albay, east of the island of Luzon.

Due to the beauty of its almost perfect conical shape, the Mayon volcano is also one of the great tourist attractions in the area.

Its last eruption occurred in 2018, when more than 75,000 people had to be evacuated. Mayon’s most lethal eruption occurred in 1814, when some 1,200 people perished, buried by rivers of lava and volcanic rock falls, according to estimates published by Phivolcs. EFE


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