Roughly 56,000 Filipinos rushed to safety after their islands’ most active volcano erupted, sending lava and debris cascading down the mountain.
Villages surrounding Mount Mayon were plunged into darkness as giant ash clouds covered the sky. Authorities have raised the alert level to four on a five-point scale, meaning an explosive eruption may be days or just hours away, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
Mount Mayon’s danger zone extends 8 kilometers from the center of the volcano, The Associated Press reports.
Scientists in the Philippines say fountains of lava from Mount Mayon volcano soared more than 1,600 feet above the crater during latest eruption. https://t.co/Cf2jc3ktCe pic.twitter.com/BywvdDLH6g
— ABC News (@ABC) January 22, 2018
The Philippine government has had trouble convincing people to evacuate and stay out of the volcano’s danger zone. Cedric Daep, a provincial disaster response official, recommended shutting off utilities to homes in the area to discourage people from sneaking back to their homes, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Time lapse: Boom explodes #Philippines‘ most active volcano Mount #Mayon https://t.co/Ydb9zOMPcl pic.twitter.com/vifEQiABBR
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) January 22, 2018
Mount Mayon has been rumbling for more than a week. The volcano averages about one eruption every decade; however, the last one happened only five years ago. An ash eruption in 2013 resulted in the deaths of five hikers who ignored warnings and scaled the volcano anyway, according to the AP.
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