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Philippines raises Mayon volcano alert to possible eruption "within weeks or days"

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Thousands evacuated as lava flows from Philippines volcano

There was no immediate information on whether the latest phreatic or steam-driven eruption produced a bigger ash cloud than the first two eruptions at around 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:49 a.m. Sunday, she said.

Phivolcs raised the alert to level 2, which means that the current activity is "probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions".

The Philippines raised the alert for the Mayon volcano early Sunday, citing signs of rising magma.

The agency advised local government units and the public to stay away from the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone.

PHIVOLCS said traces of ash fell on Barangay Anoling in Daraga, Barangays Sua, Quirangay, Tumpa, Ilawod, Salugan of Camalig, and Barangays Tandarora, Maninila, and Travesia in Guinobatan. Its most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava flows buried a town and killed 1,200 people.

"In case of ash fall events, which are most likely to affect communities on the western and southwestern flanks downwind of Mayon's crater, people should cover their nose and mouth with damp, clean cloth or dust mask", PHIVOLCS said. It last erupted in 2014.

An ash cloud rises from the Mayon volcano
An ash cloud rises from the Mayon volcano

It also asked civil aviation authorities to advise pilots from flying close to the volcano's summit, "as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft".

Sto Domingo town mayor Herbie Aguas, on the other hand, ordered that residents within the slopes of the volcano who might be experiencing ashfalls should take precautionary measures against inhalation and possible roof collapse due to accumulated heavy ash and rain.

Experts say it has been displaying abnormal behaviour since late a year ago.

The incident prompted Phivolcs to raise the alert level on Mayon from Level 1 (abnormal) to Level 2 (ncreasing unrest).

"We have not reached the critical level", head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Cedric Daep, insists in a radio interview.

Under Alert Level 3, the extension of danger zone in the sector where the crater rim is low will be considered.

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