More Filipinos leave homes as volcano spills lava

Dec 18, 2009 By BULLIT MARQUEZ , Associated Press Writer
Lava continues to cascade further down the slopes of Mayon volcano as viewed in Legazpi city, Albay province, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Manila, Philippines, before dawn Friday Dec. 18, 2009. Security forces will forcibly evacuate thousands of residents reluctant to leave their farms around the slopes of the country's most active volcano despite fears of a major eruption, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

(AP) -- Security forces in army trucks Friday sent about 3,000 residents outside the danger zone surrounding the smoldering Mayon volcano, which looked set for a major eruption after days of shooting ash plumes and spilling lava.

Authorities in central Albay province declared a round-the-clock ban on anyone being within the five-mile (eight-kilometer) zone around the 8,070-foot (2,460-meter) mountain, the most active of the country's 22 volcanoes.

More than 35,000 evacuees were given sleeping mats and food as they settled down in evacuation centers, mostly schools, where social workers were organizing Christmas parties and games to keep children busy, said provincial emergency management official Jukes Nunez.

Mayon shot two plumes of smoke early Friday, one reaching almost 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) into the clear blue sky. Lava continued to trickle down its steep slope, and two lava domes had formed from rising magma inside the crater, said chief state volcanologist Renato Solidum. He said the domes could grow bigger and plug the crater, leading to a gas explosion.

Scientists have raised a five-stage alert to two steps below a hazardous eruption, which they said is possible within weeks.

Solidum said cascading could trigger a pyroclastic flow - superheated gas and volcanic debris racing down the slopes at very high speed, vaporizing everything in its path.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said a provincial board had authorized police and soldiers to move out some 2,000 remaining families - or 10,000 people - from around two towns in Mayon's foothills.

Many had refused to leave their coconut and vegetable farms during the harvest time. Police will show them pictures of victims of a 1993 eruption that killed more than 70 people to persuade them to evacuate the area, he said.

Nunez said people were cooperating. "They know the danger. We have to enforce our objective of zero casualty," he said.

At the Bagumbayan Central School in Legazpi, the provincial capital, Guilly Anonuevo, a 75-year-old veteran of five evacuations, will spend Christmas for the first time in a shelter.

"We do not know where we will get our Christmas dinner. We have no money," she said. "It's all right to be sad as long as we are safe from Mayon's eruption."

Explore further: Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Philippine volcano rumbles with fresh explosions

Dec 16, 2009

(AP) -- The Mayon volcano, which has blown its top nearly 40 times in 400 years, menaced nearby residents with small eruptions of ash and lava Wednesday as Philippine authorities moved more than 30,000 people ...

Scientist says volcanic eruption in Congo imminent

May 07, 2009

(AP) -- Scientists found evidence of intense volcanic activity - including tremors, pools of lava and plumes of smoke - at two volcanoes near a major city in eastern Congo, and said some residents had fled ...

Indonesian volcano evacuation ordered

May 11, 2006

Indonesian officials have ordered the evacuation of about 17,000 residents of the island of Java as Mount Merapi spews more lava and poisonous smoke.

Scientists lower Alaska volcano threat level

Jul 01, 2009

(AP) -- Alaskans can put away their dust masks and spare air filters, for now, because Mount Redoubt seems to have cooled off since its last major eruption nearly three months ago.

Recommended for you

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

Apr 18, 2014

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...