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Philippines plans forced evacuations around erupting Mount Mayon

LEGAZPI, PHILIPPINES:  The Philippine authorities, who have declared a no-go zone around an erupting volcano, said yesterday they will remove all holdouts, by force if necessary, to avoid casualties after tens of thousands of other residents fled to safety.

There have been no deaths in the 10 days since Mount Mayon began belching lava, superheated rocks and ash, civil defence officials said, while 75,450 residents have fled the surrounding farms and communities.

But officials said people have been leaving the shelters in daytime to tend to their farms and livestock inside the danger zone, which now extends to 9km from the crater.

Mr Akim Berces, operations officer of the regional civil defence office in Legazpi city, said local authorities have sent police patrols to guard the abandoned farms and homes, so people should not go back.

A number of residents with homes just inside the declared danger zone were also refusing to leave, Mr Berces said.

"There are some people who do not want to leave but the local governments are forcing evacuations," he said." - AFP

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