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Torrent of volcanic mudflow hits Philippine village

Volcanic mud and debris washes through a village in the central Philippines after Mount Kanlaon werupted a day earlier
Volcanic mud and debris washes through a village in the central Philippines after Mount Kanlaon werupted a day earlier.

Heavy rain washed volcanic mud and debris through a village in the central Philippines on Wednesday, two days after a nearby volcano erupted.

Mount Kanlaon on Negros island exploded Monday evening, sending a plume of ash, rocks and gases five kilometers (three miles) into the sky.

Images posted on Facebook and verified by AFP on Wednesday show a torrent of gray mud and rocks, known as cold lava flow, or lahar, roaring down a watercourse in Biaknabato in Negros Occidental province.

Residents can be seen walking barefoot through thick sludge covering a road in the village, located a few kilometers from the volcano.

"The lahar on the streets is knee-deep," Stills Fernandez of the municipal disaster agency told AFP.

A bulldozer and three dump trucks were deployed to remove the lahar after it stopped flowing but Fernandez said it "might take time" to clear.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Lahars are mammoth flows of volcanic debris deposited on a volcano's slopes and unleashed by heavy rain or snow melt. They can bury villages.

"We are still determining the extent and volume of the lahar," said Teresito Bacolcol, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Bacolcol warned the public that lahar contained and was "dangerous".

Leah Martinez, 37, filmed the stream of volcanic debris flowing down a rocky watercourse near her village of Masulog, which is also close to the volcano.

"Before the lahar flow, there was a thunder-like sound again," Martinez told AFP.

"I rushed outside. It was so loud. I thought the volcano had erupted again," she said.

"We couldn't see anything at first, then there were large stones, ashes and water flowing down the river."

It was not clear if other villages were affected or how many houses were damaged.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes around Mount Kanlaon due to falling ash, gases and the threat of lahars.

The state volcanology agency has raised the alert level for the volcano from one to two on a zero-to-five scale, warning more explosive eruptions were possible.

The Philippines is located in the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire" that contains more than half the world's volcanoes.

Kanlaon is one of 24 in the archipelago nation.

© 2024 AFP

Citation: Torrent of volcanic mudflow hits Philippine village (2024, June 5) retrieved 17 July 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-06-torrent-volcanic-mudflow-philippine-village.html
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