Over 2,000 families flee from restive Mayon Volcano in Philippines

08:08, December 16, 2009      

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Mayon volcano in Legazpi city, Albay province, continues to spew ash Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009 about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Manila, Philippines. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, PHIVOLCS, has raised the five-alert level to three following increased activity of the country's most active volcano and residents are prohibited from venturing into the 6-kilometer (4 mile) permanent danger zone. In December 2006 ash deposits from a previous eruption rolled down its slopes at the onslaught of a typhoon killing more than a thousand residents living around the cone-shaped volcano. (Xinhua/AFP photo)

Over 2,000 families have been evacuated to safer grounds since Monday night to avoid possible eruption of Mayon Volcano in the Philippines' Albay province, a senior government official said Tuesday.

Rafael Alejandro, director of the Office of Civil Defense in the Bicol region, said the evacuation began around 8 p.m. Monday when the authorities raised the alert to Level 3.

This means those living within six-kilometers from the foot of the volcano need to be moved. These include families residing in the city of Tabaco and the towns of Malilipot, Daraga, Camalig, Guinubatan and Ligao.

Alejandro said they observed at least five ash explosions from the volcano since Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, the civil defense office has evacuated 2,611 families. They plan to evacuate over 9,000 families in the next three days.

The 2,472-meter volcano is located in Albay province, about 360kilometers south of the country's capital Manila.

The volcano has erupted about 50 times since 1616. It last erupted in July 2006, forcing more than 30,000 people to flee their homes.

Source: Xinhua
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