by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
Explosions on Monday shook Mt. Mayon, the country’s most active volcano. Mayon has been spewing ash, lava, and pyroclastic material since Jan. 13, displacing close to 40,000 residents in the central province of Albay.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised its alert on Mayon to level 4, signifying a hazardous eruption could be “weeks or even days” away.
With a plume of smoke now reaching 10km high, local authorities have closed all schools and urged residents to stay indoors amid ash fall warnings.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology agency chief, Renato Solidum says, “The danger zone around the 8,077-foot volcano has been expanded to a radius of 5 miles. We strongly advise all people, both residents and tourists, to avoid the danger zone, and airlines to avoid flying near the volcano summit.”
In some areas, it’s already zero visibility, especially along the foot of the volcano.
More than 27,000 residents in Albay Province have fled since Mayon began erupting a few weeks ago. Provincial governor Al Francis Bichara says that Albay province has run out of emergency funds and that more people could be evacuated, once government financial help arrives.Ruby
Joy Geron is the president of Bicol USA in Houston. She worries about her relatives and property impacted by Mayon’s threatening activity. Many members of her family still live in Bicol at the foot of the volcano.
Mayon is a tourist attraction visited by thousands every year. But seeing the recent images of her former home on TV, brings back memories of what life used to be like living at the base of Mighty Mayon.
Mount Mayon has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years. Volcanologists who know it well say that the volcano is at a critical stage, and urge residents of Albay province to heed the evacuation warnings.
All Fil-AMs in the US can do for now is watch and pray.