A farmer walks as Mayon volcano spews ashes and lava in Legaspi city, Albay, Philippines, 13 June 2013. EFE/EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

14,000 evacuated as lava gushes from Philippines volcano

Manila, June 13 (EFE).- Some 14,000 people have been evacuated from towns and villages near the Mayon volcano in the Philippines due to the risk of a major eruption, authorities said Tuesday.

Evacuees disembark from a truck during a mass evacuation at a school turned into an evacuation center in Santo Domingo, Albay, Philippines, 13 June 2013. EFE/EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Residents living at the foot of the crater, in the northeastern Albay province, are bracing for a drawn-out eruption of the Philippines’ most active volcano.

Filipino villagers take shelter at an evacuation center while the Mayon volcano (background) continues to spew ashes and lava, in Santo Domingo, Albay province, Philippines, 12 June 2023. EFE/EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

“Based on our previous experiences, this volcanic activity may persist for a few months,” Teresito Bacolcol, director at the Philippine seismology agency, Phivolcs, warned on Tuesday in an interview with the local DZMM radio channel.

A boy plays outside a shanty home as Mayon volcano spews ashes and lava in Legaspi city, Albay, Philippines, 13 June 2013. EFE/EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Bacolcol said that the people who had been displaced should prepare to be away from their homes for weeks or months, while warning of the possibility of new evacuations if the eruption grows in intensity.

Lava has been oozing from the volcano’s crater creating a flow that is over 500 meters long prompting an alert level 3, out of a maximum of 5.

Concern was growing among local authorities due to the uncertain duration of the eruption and amid pressure to coordinate temporary shelters for those who have been displaced.

So far only villages and settlements located less than 6 kilometers from the Mayon volcano have been evacuated.

In the town of Santo Domingo, where dozens have been displaced, some families warned EFE there were drinking water and food shortages and urged the authorities to deliver more provisions.

Nearby, in the San Francisco neighborhood, some residents were forced to escape ash rain on Monday after it engulfed their homes and caused several landslides due to the build-up of ash on the fragile constructions.

According to the daily Phivolcs report, seismic activity dropped considerably on Monday registering just one earthquake compared to the 21 that were recorded on Sunday.

Experts also recorded 221 volcanic rockfall events and an increase in sulfur dioxide emissions.

The Phivolcs report also spoke of an increased risk of landslides and ash and mud avalanches that had built up on the slopes of the Mayon.

Mayon is one of the main attractions of Albay due to its almost perfectly conical shape.

The last major eruption of the volcano occurred in 2018 when more than 75,000 people had to be evacuated.

Mayon’s most lethal eruption took place in 1841 when around 1,200 people died after they were buried by rivers of lava and falling volcanic rocks. EFE