Alert Level Raised to 2 After Filipino Volcano Mayon Spews Steam

Clouds enclose the surface of the Mayon Volcano as it spewed an ash column the height of up to three kilometers late Saturday afternoon

Clouds enclose the surface of the Mayon Volcano as it spewed an ash column the height of up to three kilometers late Saturday afternoon

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is closely monitoring the behavior of Mayon Volcano after it spewed ash due to unexpected phreatic eruption during heavy rains Saturday afternoon.

At least 900 families living around Mayon volcano have been evacuated to centers due to the major threat of eruptions.

Traces of ash fell on Barangays Anoling, Sua, Quirangay, Tumpa, Ilawod and Salugan of Camalig and in Barangays Tandarora, Maninila and Travesia in Guinobatan.

Residents in two villages were evacuated from their homes on Saturday after Mayon volcano in Albay province spewed ash thousands of meters into the air.

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

The last eruption was recorded at 11.43 a.m. Its most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava flows buried a town and killed 1,200 people.

The authorities have warned people off a six-km radius around the volcano, and have issued a level 2 alert as concern grew over the possibility of stronger and more risky eruptions.

"The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the six kilometre (3.7 mile) radius Permanent Danger Zone to minimise risks from sudden explosions, rockfall and landslides", Phivolcs said in a statement today.

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It also asked civil aviation authorities to advise pilots from flying close to the volcano's summit, "as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft".

"This means that current unrest is probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually hazardous magmatic eruptions", PHIVOLCS said in a 12:30 a.m. bulletin, Sunday.

Automatic evacuation of residents from other areas from the six-kilometer danger zones such Camalig and Daraga were also ordered due to ashfall.

"We have not reached the critical level", head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Cedric Daep, insists in a radio interview.

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Residents have been urged to protect against inhaling the ash by wearing masks or covering their noses and mouths with damp cloths.

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