World

Philippines raises volcano alert level as Mayon spews ash

MANILA The Philippines raised the alert at its restive Mayon volcano two levels yesterday, citing signs of rising magma that could lead to hazardous eruptions.

Residents were evacuated from two villages near the volcano, a tourist attraction in Albay province because of its near-perfect cone shape, following a "phreatic or steam-driven eruption" on Saturday, and a further eruption on Sunday.

Saturday's eruption unleashed ash, rocks and sulfuric odour, and was followed by rumbling sounds and a faint glow in the crater, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Phivolcs raised the alert to level 2, then tweeted a statement late last night raising it to level 3, which means an "increased tendency to hazardous eruption".

In the statement, it said that Mayon had "noticeably increased its unrest" with "three phreatic eruptions and 158 rockfall events", further adding that "hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days".

Mayon's most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava flows buried a town and killed 1,200 people. It last erupted in 2014, spewing lava and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.- REUTERS

WORLD