The eruption of the Philippine volcano Mayón causes the evacuation of 20,000 people

The Mayón volcano, located northeast of Philippines and in eruption since the beginning of June, it reached this Thursday the maximum level of lava expelled so far. Consequently, they are already more than 20,000 premises evacuated by the authorities.

He National Council for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (NDRRMC) has indicated that the evacuees are in 27 centers, with no personal injuries reported for the moment.

According to the bulletin published this Friday by the Philippine seismological agency (Phivolcs), “the lava flows have advanced approximately one kilometer away from the summit crater, while the rubble from the collapse has been deposited two kilometers away.”

Altogether, the Mayon Volcano Network It registered 307 rockfall events and four volcanic earthquakes, figures similar to the previous days. Despite the visible stability of the volcano, Phivolcs maintains the alert level three out of five due to the possibility that the violence and magnitude of the eruption will grow.

In addition, the agency has once again warned in its report of the increasing risk of landslides or laharsavalanches of ash, mud and sediment that the Mayón spits out and that accumulate every day on the slopes of the volcano.

The population that lived in a radius of six kilometers around the volcano has already been evacuated from their homes. But before, thousands of people have shared by social networks the magnitude of the phenomenon seen from their respective municipalities.

In the event that the seismological agency increases the alert level to fourth, the authorities would have to evacuate the 40,000 people who live within a radius of eight kilometers from the crater. It would be a huge number of displaced persons, which is why the evacuation services have expressed their concern about a possible “chaotic” development of events.

NDRRMC spokesperson, Raffy Alexanderhas declared in a press conference that “as long as there is no one in the permanent danger zone, it is not expected that there will be victims. But the challenge really is how to maintain or manage the evacuation centers, because this is where there could be problems due to disease outbreaks.”

Filipinos evacuated from their homes after the Mayón volcano alert level was increased. Lisa-Marie-David / Reuters

Since it is not the first time that the Mayon has erupted in the last decade, the Government of the Philippines is contemplating the possibility of building permanent evacuation centers in the province of Albay, an area where the Mayón rises, considered the most active volcano on the island.

As stated in a press conference on Thursday by the Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.., already in 2014 and 2018 the lava forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of citizens. But Mayón’s deadliest eruption took place in 1814, when lava buried 1,200 people.

Despite the precarious conditions in which the evacuees currently find themselves, they receive help from Filipino volunteers in all kinds of tasks.

06/11/2023 - Elena Rosales, 23, holds her daughter inside a classroom converted into an evacuation site after the Mayon volcano alert level was raised, in Daraga, Albay province, Philippines, June 11, 2023. June 2023.
A woman holds her daughter inside a classroom converted into an evacuation site in Daraga, Albay province, Philippines, June 11, 2023. Lisa-Marie-David / REUTERS

In camalig, a town 11 kilometers from the volcano where hundreds of people have been evacuated, dozens of residents have come forward to help teach children whose lessons have been canceled due to the risk of Mayón. According to the municipal authorities, they also lend themselves to cleaning and organization tasks.

In addition, the regional government of said municipality has also initiated a employment exchange for the most needy families who have been forced to leave their homes. The jobs range from assisting in cleaning asylum centers to working in the kitchen.

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